Fire Safety Enforcement in NYC strengthened by new bill


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New York City Mayor Eric Adams has signed five pieces of fire safety legislation into law aimed at strengthening enforcement, education, and outreach efforts in the wake of the tragic Bronx apartment fire in January which saw the death of 17 people.

The new laws include shortening the timeline of re-inspection for self-closing door violations, increasing the fine for building owners who do not fix 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.”

The mayor signed the following bills into law:

Intro. 104 which 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 which 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 also 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, increases civil penalties for the false certification of corrections for Class A, B, and C violations of the Housing Maintenance Code.

Intro. 106 which 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 which 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 which 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.

Commenting on the new legislation, New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said: “Educating New Yorkers on fire safety and prevention is key to the Department’s lifesaving mission. 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.”

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