Building Safety Loopholes Put City Firefighters at Risk

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By Paul Bisceglio In August 2007, a fire in the Financial District's vacant Deutsche Bank building claimed the lives of two New York firefighters. The tragedy prompted State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried to create a joint New York City-New York State Task Force on Building and Fire Safety. The Task Force just released its full [report]( this week, and the results have Squadron calling for immediate action. The report warns that firefighters may be at risk when fighting fires in the city's hundreds of state-owned buildings. Discrepancies in fire codes between state- and privately-owned buildings exempt the former from fire safety standards, such as proper building equipment (such as standpipes and hosethread connections) and hazardous material reporting. Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, the Jacob Javits Convention Center and Downstate Medical Center are among the many schools, state office buildings and state building-leasing restaurants and salons included in this loophole. Squadron urged state and city agencies to close these safety code holes immediately by creating consistent standards. "Simply put, these major gaps in fire code put our first responders and the public at greater risk," he said in a statement. " The task force's recommendations will go a long way toward closing these holes and improving safety -- but they must be implemented now."

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