The Cooperator’s Co-op and Condo Expo included a standing room only crowd at a seminar on new fire safety regulations. A panel of experts explained the law and provided information on everything from who is ultimately responsible for posting fire safety notices in individual units to how buildings have used the installation of sprinkler systems to lead to profit. Why such an interest? The deadline for the law taking effect was extended to January 31. Two months later, boards scurry to make sure they’re in compliance. Make sure you’re in the know.
Julian Bazel, counsel to the New York City Fire Department, explains that 1999’s Local Law 10 was propelled into being by two disastrous fires that occurred within weeks of each other the previous year. "What these incidents revealed," says Bazel, "is that there was a lot of public confusion about what to do in the event of fire in one’s apartment or building."
The first fire was started in the top floor of a ten-story building in Brooklyn by a tenant smoking in her bed. There was no prompt call to 911, and by the time fire fighters arrived, fire had flashed over into the hall. Three firefighters were killed. The residence had a sprinkler system in the hallway, but the main valve had been turned off and it did not activate.
The second, known as the McCauley Culkin fire because it started in his family’s apartment, occurred in a 51-story high-rise. The apartment occupants got out, but they left a door open. Smoke quickly circulated. Four people attempting to exit the building via the stairwells died of smoke inhalation because the stairwell door was also open.