Contractors tearing down the contaminated former Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan never had a formal demolition permit, even though they were undertaking one of the most complicated efforts ever to dismantle a skyscraper.
Inquiry Lays Out Chain of Failures in High-Rise Fire
When a fire broke out last Aug. 18 at the tower, it took roughly 80 minutes to get water on the flames, in part because workers there waited some 13 minutes to call 911 and then gave firefighters inaccurate information about whether emergency equipment at the site was working.
And communication lapses further disrupted the firefighting response. Walkie-talkies failed, and critical calls for help went unheard. Men were lost in the confusion. One firefighter’s radio problems forced him to crawl to the building’s edge to report that two imperiled colleagues — Robert Beddia, 53, and Joseph Graffagnino, 33 — were trapped by stairwells that had been sealed off. Both men were killed.