New York firefighters may be at risk at hundreds of state-owned buildings throughout the city that don’t follow the city's Fire Department codes, according to a new report.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-Brooklyn, and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, created a joint New York City-New York State Task Force on Building and Fire Safety following the August 2007 Deutsche Bank fire, which claimed the lives of two firefighters.
The task force’s new report shows the danger posed by discrepancies in fire codes that allow state-owned buildings in the five boroughs to remain exempt from critical standards.
"Simply put, these major gaps in fire code put our first responders and the public at greater risk. The task force's recommendations will go a long way toward closing these holes and improving safety – but they must be implemented now," Squadron said in a statement.
The loophole includes several northeast Queens sites, such as the Udall's Cove Tidal Wetland and the Bayside Hostel, but also a number of other buildings across the borough, including Aqueduct Racecourse, Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, Veterans' Home at St. Albans and the Jamaica Bay Tidal Wetlands.
Other buildings across the city on the list included Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College and the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
There are also many state-owned buildings that are leased out to commercial tenants, such as restaurants and salons, that are at risk.
Squadron is urging the creation of consistent standards for building equipment - such as standpipes and hosethread connections - as well as how explosives and hazardous materials are reported. They currently fall under different rules between city and state.
The report recommends more thorough fire inspections for state buildings.
Are you surprised, after all the high-profile incidents the city has seen, that New York's firefighters are still at risk? Let us know what you think in the comments.