WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. January 13, 2021:
GREENBURGH TOWN BD DISCUSSES BRONX SPACE HEATER/FAULTY CLOSED DOORS TRAGEDY WITH DEPUTY BUILDING INSPECTOR—we want to make sure that this never happens in Greenburgh
We plan to sponsor a Zoom community educational initiative for residents, property managers to discuss action steps we can all take to make sure Bronx tragedy does not ever happen in Greenburgh–date, time of meeting to be announced once program is finalized
_ Following the devastating fire in a Bronx complex this (past)weekend that started due to a space heater and spread due to faulty self-closing doors, the Deputy Building Inspector, Bob Dam assured the Town Board at Tuesday’s work session that the town exceeds state code requirements with safety measures and provided information on what more they can do to feel safe in their homes.
Building Inspector Bob Dam said the town, by law, follows New York State fire code requirements. However, it often surpasses them with even more restrictions. When the state required commercial spaces to have sprinklers on buildings with three or more floors, the town required it for all; we are also very strict about sprinklers, Dam said. We require an alarm to sound when the sprinklers are flowing, so everyone would know when there’s a fire. The town regularly issues violations for sprinklers and alarms that aren’t up in compliance, which is expensive.
There are self-closing fire doors required on any multi-family building outside each apartment and for the general stairs. To check to see if your door is functioning properly, open it and let it go. Does it close automatically? If there were a fire inside an apartment, these doors prevent it from spreading to other apartments. If it doesn’t close, contact the building inspector or your building owner to get it fixed. It’s not expensive to get a self-closer if needed.
Self closing doors should protect residents for at least one hour.. On the jam side of the door, there should be a tag that will say how long it is rated for. If it is painted over, you may feel a bump where a tag is.
Officials recommend getting in the habit when the clocks change twice a year to not only check fire detector batteries but also check the functioning of the self-closing doors.
I am working with our Fire Chiefs and plan to organize an educational forum for the community (by zoom). Safety measures that building owners and apartment dwellers can take to reduce the chances of a Bronx tragedy here in Greenburgh will be discussed. We will post the date/ time of this important forum when final plans are made.
Please see this discussion on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/bYB_x-eA6ck
Fairview Fire Chief Howard Reiss later explained more about the annual inspections conducted by our local fire departments:
All three Fire Districts conduct Fire Safety Inspections annually. These safety inspections include all public assemblies and multiple dwelling buildings (two or more living units) as well as any commercial business properties.
Part of the inspection is meeting with the owners/management agents/landlords and to review safety procedures, inspect the premises for any issues that may make the property unsafe (expired fire extinguishers, blocked exits, alarm system and sprinkler system tested and inspected, emergency doors operate properly – including automatic doors and elevator recalls, etc).
The process is documented and key property personnel are given a formal list of issues to correct and we of course follow up to make sure that all questionable issues are corrected in a timely manner. In the rare event that we have an issue with compliance we have reached out to the building department and they have always been able to get the necessary corrections made.
PAUL FEINER Greenburgh Town Supervisor