An architect pushing to remove fire escapes from two SoHo buildings has received permission from the city to move forward with one of the projects, city records show.
The Department of Buildings approved Joseph Pell Lombardi's application to remove the fire escapes from 69 Greene St. last Thursday, records show.
Lombardi, a preservation specialist, wants to remove the fire escapes from 69 and 71 Greene St. as part of a renovation of the two buildings. He has said that the fire escapes are not old enough to be considered historic, and insists that they are unsafe.
But residents are concerned that removing them would affect their ability to evacuate in the event of a fire — their only other egress is an internal staircase made of wood — and an FDNY engineer has submitted written testimony to the city expressing misgivings about the fire escapes' removal.
That same FDNY engineer, John Yacovone, sent an email Wednesday to the building's management company, Esquire Management, "respectfully request[ing] that you cease and desist" with any alterations to the building geared toward the fire escape removal, after worried tenants reported construction workers nailing the door to the second floor fire escape shut last Monday.