From the NY Times:
Though an inspector warned in June 2007 that a breach in a standpipe at the former Deutsche Bank building had to be fixed and tested, the test was never done.
Thus a chance to learn of a much larger break in a pipe in the basement — meant to deliver water in case of a fire — was missed.
That was one problem identified in a report by the city’s Department of Investigation. It paints a scathing portrait of how the Fire Department and the Department of Buildings inspected — or failed to inspect — the bank building in the months before a fatal fire on Aug. 18, 2007.
Two firefighters died battling the blaze in the building, which was being both decontaminated and deconstructed. The building, at the edge of ground zero, was damaged on 9/11.
The report found failures by fire officers, at several levels, to conduct basic inspections of the site every 15 days, as department rules require when high-rise buildings are being built or demolished. The frequency is important because the inner workings of such sites are usually changing.
It also found a “lack of communication up and down the chain of command,” meaning that the importance of compliance with the 15-day rule was not reinforced among the lower ranks.
The report also noted that firefighters had gone into the building in the period before the fire to help injured workers and that, on May 17, 2007, a pipe fell from the building through the roof of an adjacent firehouse, Engine No. 10, but none of that was enough to prompt anyone to ask for inspections.