Officials: All City Buildings Must Be Subject to Fire Code
By BENJAMIN SARLIN, Special to the Sun
Elected officials and family members of a firefighter killed in a fire in the former Deutsche Bank building last August are calling for city buildings outside local jurisdiction to be brought under the city's recently revised fire code.
More than 800 buildings owned by the Port Authority, the state or federal government, the United Nations, and other institutions are not included under the city's fire code and are not subject to inspections by the city's fire and building departments.
At a press conference in Lower Manhattan yesterday, the president of Manhattan, Scott Stringer, said such buildings should be brought under the city's code.
"When it comes to safety, no one is above the law," Mr. Stringer said. He suggested that a lack of city inspections at the former Deutsche Bank building, which is owned by a state agency, might have contributed to the deaths of two firefighters last year.
Accompanied by Joseph Graffagnino, whose son, a firefighter, died in the fire last year, Mr. Stringer said the federal government should enact a policy adopted by the United States Postal Service that requires the agency to meet local safety standards for buildings it owns.
State Senator Martin Connor, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, said yesterday that he plans to introduce legislation requiring state-controlled buildings to adopt the city's fire code. He called on the Port Authority to be brought under the city's jurisdiction, an action that would require approval from the state governments of New York and New Jersey.
A spokeswoman for the Port Authority, Candace McAdams, said yesterday that buildings owned by the Port Authority undergo voluntary inspections by the city's fire and buildings departments.