June 1, 2022
Video available at: https://youtu.be/liuleQzOQDA
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today signed five pieces of fire safety legislation into law, strengthening enforcement, education, and outreach efforts in the wake of the tragic Bronx apartment fire this past January. The laws include shortening the timeline of re-inspection for self-closing door violations, increasing the fine for building owners who do not cure violations, banning the sale of certain space heaters that do not meet certain safety standards, and codifying increased fire safety outreach.
“More than a dozen New Yorkers, some just children, were killed in the fire at the Twin Parks apartments. We mourn their passing but that is not enough — we must ensure that a tragedy at that level never happens again,” said Mayor Adams. “In March, I signed an executive order to immediately improve fire safety coordination and outreach. Today, I’m proud to work with the City Council to create long-term solutions that strengthen enforcement and education and will keep all New Yorkers safe.”
“While we mourn the 17 lives lost in the Twin Parks fire this year, we will continue our work strengthening our fire safety laws and enforcement to save lives and build a safer New York City,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks. “Today’s actions are an essential step towards the goal of preventing this kind of tragedy from ever occurring again.”
“The Twin Parks Fire was a devastating tragedy, and one that we keep in our minds every day as we focus on the state of our housing stock in New York City,” said New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “I am grateful to our council colleagues for advocating for these bills, which are an important step to hopefully avoid any future fires like this one. We will continue to work with our partners across the government to identify other avenues to building safer, healthier housing for all New Yorkers.”
“The horrific Twin Parks fire earlier this year was a wake-up call for our city, and this administration is committed to taking all steps necessary to prevent these tragedies from happening in the future,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Intro 106 will ensure all space heaters sold in New York City adhere to strict consumer safety standards. I thank our partners in the City Council for advancing this suite of bills to enhance consumer and fire safety throughout our city.”
“Educating New Yorkers on fire safety and prevention is key to the Department’s lifesaving mission,” said New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “These bills, and the mayor’s Executive Order increasing coordination between our department and HPD, will strengthen the FDNY’s ability to reach the neediest residents in our city with critical messages of fire education and prevention.”
“The tragic Twin Parks fire was a call-to-action. Today’s bills strengthen fire safety for New Yorkers while making it clear to landlords that self-closing doors are paramount to protecting lives,” said New York City Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “I am proud to stand here united as an administration, a government, and as the people of New York City taking action to prevent apartment fires and make it less likely they can cause the kind of devastation that occurred in the Bronx on January 9.”
“The Twin Parks fire was an unspeakable tragedy that should not have happened. As the city’s consumer protection agency, DCWP will be watching to make sure that space heaters sold in New York City are properly labeled, certified, have a thermostat, and have an auto-shut off,” said New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “I thank the mayor and the City Council for championing these important bills.”
“The Twin Parks fire was a devastating tragedy, the Department of Buildings is committed to working with its partner agencies to improve fire safety and help prevent tragedies like this from happening again,” said New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Eric Ulrich. “This package of legislation will improve fire safety and help keep New Yorkers safe.”
The mayor signed the following bills into law today:
Intro. 104 clarifies the definition of a self-closing door to mean a door equipped with a device that will ensure the door, when opened and released, returns to the closed position and self-latches shut.
Intro. 105 shortens the timeline for correction of self-closing door violations from 21 days to 14 days, requires HPD to reinspect a self-closing door violation no later than 20 days after the expiration of the 14-day correction period, and increases penalties for building owners who do not cure those violations. It establishes a civil penalty range of $250-$500 for the violation of the self-closing door requirement and a $250/day penalty from the date set for correction of the violation until it is corrected. The law also increases civil penalties for the false certification of corrections for Class A, B, and C violations of the Housing Maintenance Code.
Intro. 106 bans the sale of electric space heaters that do not have automatic shut off capabilities if the heater falls over or overheats, and requires that space heaters sold in New York City be labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
Intro. 131 expands fire safety education to require FDNY to provide educational materials and conduct outreach relating to the safe use of electric space heaters in residences. The law — which takes effect as FDNY continues to conduct a robust fire safety education program — also requires that such educational materials be made available to tenants in the top 10 most common languages in New York City.
Intro. 155 prohibits the DOB from charging filing fees for a permit to repair fire damaged conditions of one-, two- or three-family homes. If construction defects are discovered at such fire-damaged locations, this fee exemption would extend to other dwellings within the same homeowner or cooperative association to correct the same construction defect. The law will diminish repair costs for owners remediating fire-damaged properties and construction defects found during the remediation process and task DOB with conducting targeted outreach showcasing the fee-exemption program.
The signing of these bills into law follow Mayor Adams’ signing of Executive Order 12 in March that strengthened fire safety enforcement and outreach to increase coordination between FDNY and HPD inspectors to identify safety violations earlier, as well as increased fire safety compliance.
“We must ensure that tragedies, like the Twin Parks fire in the Bronx that claimed the lives of 17 New Yorkers, never happen again,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “This fire safety legislative package is a pivotal step towards enacting proper measures that protect our city's residents and save lives. I thank Council Members Feliz, Hanif, Sanchez, and Carr for their leadership on these critical bills."
“There was one tool that could have prevented the unspeakable Twin Parks fire tragedy: properly-functioning self-closing doors,” said New York City Councilmember Oswald Feliz. “Had the self-closing doors worked, smoke wouldn't have filled the 19-story tower, and families would've been able to safely escape the fire. These fire safety bills will help ensure another similar tragedy never happens again, by ensuring that self-closing door laws are scrupulously followed and enforced. Properly functioning self-closing doors can prevent tragedies and save lives. They prevent smoke from spreading and harming others. I thank everyone who supported the bills and took action to help ensure self-closing doors are closing.”
“This package of legislation is the first iteration of the City Council’s commitment to improving fire safety. Int. 131-A will expand educational outreach regarding space heaters and add increased language access for immigrant communities,” said New York City Councilmember Pierina Sanchez, chair, Committee on Housing and Buildings. “Educational outreach by the FDNY has reached thousands of New Yorkers, but expanding this to include language access to the top 10 languages will ensure our immigrant communities have access to the same information in New York. The first package of legislation addressing the Twin Parks fire is just a start, to be clear. We do not rest now. We will continue to improve building and fire safety by holding landlords accountable, modernizing our fire and building codes and ensuring adequate code enforcement is working for all New Yorkers.”
“Almost five months ago, the tragic Twin Peaks fire took the lives of 17 New Yorkers, all of whom were West African Muslim immigrants. Today, our city is taking real steps to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again,” said New York City Councilmember Shahana Hanif. “I’m proud the mayor is signing my first Local Law, Intro 243, which ensures space heaters sold in our city are outfitted with the necessary safety equipment to avoid another tragic fire. Together, alongside Council Members Sanchez, Feliz, Carr, and Williams’ legislation, New York City is addressing the root causes of this tragic fire and ensuring tenants can remain safe and secure in their homes.”
“With this legislation now being law, families affected by fires from construction defects will not have to worry about paying any permit fees when they are trying to build back, or make fire safety improvements on their property,” said New York City Councilmember David Carr. “I would like to thank Mayor Adams for signing this important bill.”