Paterson ramps up fire safety inspections in wake of deadly Bronx fire
The Paterson Fire Department is increasing its inspections inside residential buildings in the wake of a deadly fire in the Bronx over the weekend.
They say that the aggressive program will save lives.
Like all 39 high-rise buildings in Paterson, the Governor Paterson Towers is inspected every year. But officials did an extra check of the building on Wednesday as part of the new campaign. It is in direct response to the fire in the Bronx that killed 17 people.
“The unspeakable tragedy in New York underscores the importance of fire safety in our most populated buildings,” says Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
Paterson fire officials plan to visit all of the city’s high-rise, mid-rise and multilevel buildings to double-check that all safety systems are working – including fire hydrants and hookups, smoke and fire alarms, and fire safety doors.
“A quick inspection because it’s on everyone’s mind,” says Capt. Herbert Eggers. “Fresh on everyone’s mind.”
Since the Bronx fire, there has been a lot of mention of self-closing doors and why it is so important that they stay shut.
“If smoke barrier doors aren’t working…or are disabled, it gives fire oxygen for it to burn and smoke a route to travel to get out and into the rest of the building,” says Eggers.
Many buildings in Paterson have magnetic smoke barrier doors that close automatically if the fire alarm goes off. It keeps smoke and fire from entering the elevator shafts.
Part of the new safety initiative includes public education, such as reminding residents how to properly use space heaters, to keep fire hydrants clear and visible, and to keep all fire safety doors closed at all times.
The Paterson fire chief says that he hopes that one day automatic fire sprinklers will be required in all high-rise buildings. The city is currently working with the American Red Cross to give free smoke detectors to hundreds of city residents.