Photo: Peter Foley/EPA/EFE
A week after the devastating fire that caused 17 deaths in a building in the Bronx, several elected officials presented a proposal on Monday to prevent this type of tragedies.
“We cannot allow a tragedy like this to happen in our communities again,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who visited the scene Monday with Congressman Ritchie Torres, Mayor Eric Adams and elected officials from the Task Force. Fire Safety for that county to meet with volunteers and community leaders.
Earlier today, as funerals were taking place for the victims, the legislator announced her intent to sponsor new federal legislation to hold federally funded or regulated multi-family housing developments accountable for heating violations.
The senator indicated that she will work with Congressman Torres and lead the bill in the Senate that will require the installation of heat sensors in certain buildings financed with federal funds so that federal, state and local housing managers can assess heat levels. in real time, prevent future fire tragedies and improve fire safety and housing quality.
The tragic fire was caused, according to the authorities, by the malfunction of a heater in an apartment on the second floor of the 19-story, 120-apartment building.
“It is no coincidence that the four worst fires in the history of New York City in the last thirty years have occurred in the Bronx,” said Congressman Torres. “The tragedy at Twin Parks North West only underscores that we must take federal action to ensure renters have safe and affordable housing regardless of their zip code.”
Torres believes that the introduction of federal legislation to require heat sensors in buildings financed with federal funds will improve living standards, especially in places like the Bronx, “where we see the effects of an aging housing market.”
For his part, Mayor Adams was proud to support the legislative effort of both legislators in Congress.
“It is unacceptable for any New Yorker to be left out in the open when they are in their own home,” said the mayor. “We have seen the tragic consequences of abusive landlords turning off the heat; That is why I have spent years fighting to protect tenants from heat-related harassment and to hold wrongdoing landlords accountable.”
Voices of support and hope were heard after the announcement.
Councilman Oswald Feliz said he applauded Gillibrand and Torres for their leadership and work to make heat sensor technology more accessible to vulnerable tenants in his district.
“These devices will allow residents to track and record internal building temperatures throughout the day, allowing them to hold landlords accountable for failing to provide adequate heating.
This increased responsibility, in turn, will prevent the need for dangerous personal heating equipment like the heater that contributed to this recent tragedy,” said Feliz.
Salim Drammeh, president of the Gambia Youth Organisation, recalled that his community was still in mourning and shocked by the consequences of the devastating fire.
“This is a tragedy that did not have to happen. The conditions that led to the fire were created by years of neglect on the part of a homeowner and general disregard for the people who lived there.”
According to Lori Moore-Merrell, administrator of the US Fire Administration, space heater fires cause at least 65 deaths and 150 injuries a year.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.