Two news stories hit my inbox this morning – both were about kitchen fires in multi-family apartment buildings. My take-away from these incidents is that regardless of a resident’s income level they can be impacted by fire, BUT – codes protect everyone and are not dependent on a person’s age, race, ability, fitness level, IQ, or how big their bank account is.
It’s amazing to me how often safety is ignored…don’t people ask themselves “what-if?” when making those decisions? I find myself doing that all the time, and it typically guides me in the right direction. Fire, panic, and other emergencies can strike anywhere, any time. To offer the highest level of protection, buildings must be code-compliant everywhere, all the time.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Did a gap in fire inspections put Alpine apartments at risk?
Inspectors found fire doors not closing properly, no emergency lighting and daisy-chaining extension cords. Vending machines also were obstructing an exit pathway. Another violation stated the fire alarm system was defective, with an alarm panel “strapped.” Nolan said that was a makeshift attempt to portray the panel as working properly for inspectors.
Robert Solomon, an engineer with the National Fire Protection Association, said the list of violations amounted to one of the worst cases he’s seen in his career.
“It’s like, wow — somebody obviously didn’t care about the building, which means they probably didn’t care about the people in the building,” Solomon said after reviewing the list. “I don’t in any way want to discount that six people died. But they’re fortunate it was only six.”
FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Joseph Ferrante told reporters at the scene that there was “scorching damage to the entire hallway” on the 24th floor “due to the fact that…they left that door open when they tried to exit the apartment and it changed the entire complexity of this fire.”
“It turned a kitchen fire – a one-room kitchen fire — into a fire that spread throughout the upper floors of the building,” Ferrante said. “We had multiple, numerous phone calls from the apartment above all the way to the roof complaining of smoke, people trapped, all due to the fact that the door was left open.”
The chief added that “had the door been closed, this would have been a one-room fire.”
I’m wondering why the apartment door in the NYC fire did not close automatically. Weren’t any lessons learned from the Bronx fire that killed 13 people?