City Hall's response to the Deutsche Bank fire was to transfer and humiliate three dedicated fire commanders. Nobody at the Department of Buildings was touched, even though the agency had so abjectly failed to enforce its own code.
"Buildings is always let off the hook," a leading fire expert said last week.
The expert suggested that the three tragic fires are symptoms of the city's general failure to ensure contractors and building owners adhere to regulations.
"The greed, the corruption, the fraud, the incompetence," the expert said.
In the past three years, building violations have resulted in the deaths of six firefighters. Fire inspections are sharply increasing, but you have to wonder about the city's true commitment when you read page 88 of the 174-page report on the 99-cent store fire.
The report notes that under "current procedures" firefighters who discover a building code violation send an "A-8 referral form" to the FDNY Field Communications Unit, which then calls 311 the same way a civilian might.
"Note: the DOB inspectors are not aware that these 311 generated complaints are initiated by the Fire Department," the report says.
In other words, even if firefighters had discovered the building code violations before these double tragedies, the most urgent message to the Building Department would have been received like just another 311 call.
In FDNY report, Buildings Dept. dodges blame for firefighter deaths