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The Deadly Legacy of Code Exemptions at Ground Zero

 
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DMCKEON
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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:28 am    Post subject: The Deadly Legacy of Code Exemptions at Ground Zero
From Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:00 am to Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:59 am (included)
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8/20/07 Skyscraper Safety Campaign
Press Release
contact:
Glenn Corbett 201-993-2814
Sally Regenhard 646-266-1987



The Deadly Legacy of Code Exemptions at Ground Zero: The Deutsche Bank Building Fire


The Skyscraper Safety Campaign (SSC) once again calls for an end to the fire and building code immunities and exemptions enjoyed by buildings at the World Trade Center site. Just as the twin towers did before them, code enforcement deficiencies in the Deutsche Bank building have led to another tragic outcome - the deaths of two brave NYC firefighters. Our deepest condolences go to the families, friends and colleagues of these two heroic members of the FDNY.

The SSC calls on the City of New York and Governor Eliot Spitzer to initiate an independent investigation into the circumstances of this significant fire, which should go far beyond a mere inquiry as to how the fire started .

Among the questions that need to be asked are:

Why was the standpipe not functional? Standpipes are essential pieces of equipment in any high-rise fire. The lack of a working standpipe forced the FDNY to stretch hose up the outside of the building - a Herculean effort.
Why were plywood walls and wood planks used in the building? Why weren't non-combustible materials such as sheet metal used instead, limiting the amount of combustible fuels?

It has been reported that polyurethane foam was used in the building. This material is highly combustible - why was it permitted to be used?

Were there any fire watches (guards) used? If they were used, why didn't they spot the fire? If they weren't used, who decided they weren't needed?

Does this building have a demolition permit from the City of New York? Were any inspections ever performed?

Was a fire protection consultant used on this project? If so, why didn't they spot these obvious problems?

Given all the public assurances made about safety concerning the demolition of this building, why is it that the basic concern of fire safety was overlooked.?

The SSC again calls on Governors Spitzer and Corzine to direct the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to give up their immunities from the NYC code enforcement process. Hollow assurances from the PA and LMDC of "meeting or exceeding codes" and "memorandums of understanding" between these agencies and the City of New York are just that - empty promises of code compliance. All buildings at the World Trade Center site, including the new Memorial & Museum as well as the Freedom Tower, must be under the legal jurisdiction of New York City's inspection agencies. No buildings in this city should be above the law.
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