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Thursday, July 19, 2012
Stuy Town Fails Fire Inspections
There's money, time, energy, planning and manpower put into Oval Events and creating Oval Ice Rink and Oval Cafe, but it appears that Stuyvesant Town was caught short in performing routine fire door inspections throughout the complex, as well as other fire safety inspections. The NYC Fire Department was called in to investigate after volunteers from the Tenants Association found, according to Town & Village, "fire code violations in nearly every building." Because of this, CWCapital has received eight violations based on the the FDNY inspections and must fix the problems within 35 days or face a $1,000 fine for each violation. More Fire Department inspections are forthcoming.
Doors in stairways must close properly or else they can let through smoke and fire throughout a building should an apartment catch fire. Apparently, Public Safety used to check each building from top to bottom, but, according to John Marsh, TA's new president, the sweeps, he noticed, weren't being done anymore, which instigated his concern about the fire safety of buildings in PCV/ST. A FDNY Fire Inspector called the failure of doors closing “extremely dangerous, because it could fail to stop the spread of fire--and especially smoke--to other areas of the structure.” According to the fire inspector, the failure of self-closing doors could have a "severity level" in the "immediately hazardous category."
The TA website gives more information about its inspections, including this:
"The TA’s volunteers checked more than 2,900 doors in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and identified 587 doors (20%) in 106 of the community’s 110 buildings (96%) that did not self-close and latch, creating a potentially hazardous situation.... In addition to the findings on the doors, the TA’s volunteers noted buildings that were missing floor indicator signage in hallways, on stair doors, and in stairwells; standpipes that were locked and chained; piping passing through holes larger than the pipes themselves creating a path for fire and smoke to travel; and what are unsafe and non-code-compliant window safety panes, such as plastic, in the fire doors themselves."
I myself noted that work done on pipes in the stairways in my building left gaping holes between floors. My concern was asbestos (the holes were significant with, to me, unknown fireproof material jutting out), but I never gave a thought that these holes could also let fire and smoke travel through a building. When nothing was done about these holes for weeks, I called maintenance about the problem, and still nothing was done. Months went by, and only recently were the holes plastered over. (Rumor is that Stuy Town was alerted to the forthcoming FDNY inspections and moved quickly to fix as many problems as it could before the actual inspections took place. Please note that this alert may have come because of the start of the inspections.)
The TA goes on to state:
"The Tenants Association is also outraged that, in addition to the safety findings, the volunteers found substantial evidence of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use in the stairwells as well as indications that people have been using stair landings to relieve themselves and their dogs. The TA sees these abuses as a direct outcome of the suspensions of the vertical patrols by PCV/ST Public Safety that were standard procedure for years."
Kudos to John Marsh and the TA volunteers for their work on this.