Authorities yesterday said they are eyeing charges of criminally negligent homicide against the contractors responsible for a faulty water standpipe that contributed to the deaths of two firefighters in a blaze near Ground Zero.
INFERNO EYED AS 'HOMICIDE'
Fire marshals went back into a condemned ground zero skyscraper Monday in hopes of learning more about a blaze that killed two firefighters as details emerged about numerous unsafe working conditions at the troubled demolition site.
What Caused Fatal Ground Zero Blaze?
The city Buildings Department issued an order on Monday that officially halted all work at the site, except for repairs needed to keep the building safe after the damage from Saturday's blaze.
Before the fire, the project had racked up a number of citations from city building inspectors for complaints including debris falling from the building and excessive amounts of combustible debris and plywood stacked around the site.
Just weeks ago, buildings inspectors found that torch work being performed on the 28th floor was causing sparks to rain down near combustible material, though that was ruled out as a cause of the weekend fire since crews had not been working with torches.
The city also had issued an order telling contractors to stop work until permits were renewed for storing hazardous material and compressed gases. Work was allowed to proceed on August 15 after a permit was updated.
Fire’s smoking gun?
The city also said that fire investigators had determined the blaze began in an area on the 17th floor, where workers would stop before entering and exiting a chamber for decontamination. Fire marshals spoke to eyewitnesses who said workers would smoke and put out cigarettes in the area, which was near the construction elevator that they used to access the floor.