Albany, NY – Today, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D, WF-Fresh Meadows), Chair of the Assembly’s Consumer Protection Committee announced a legislative package intended to curb fire accidents.
Bill A9181, sponsored by Assemblyman Kenny Burgos (D-Bronx) and Senator Cordell Cleare (D-Harlem), would require space heaters sold in New York to have embedded safety features such as thermostats, automatic shut-offs, and be certified and tested by relevant state agencies. It passed through the Consumer Protection committee today.Bill A8639, sponsored by Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas (D-Jackson Heights) and Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Jamaica), would provide a tax credit for the installation of fire sprinkler systems. Bill A9645, sponsored by Assemblywoman Yudelka Tapia (D- Bronx), would establish a private right of action for tenants alleging a failure of building owners to keep and maintain self-closing fire-safety doors.
“Fires can happen to anyone at any time, destroying homes and businesses and tragically ruining lives,” said Assemblywoman Rozic, Chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee. “Multiple recent fires, including the one at Twin Parks, have reminded us of what we already knew: New York needs to increase fire safety mechanisms. We must ensure the laws on the books are enforceable and protect all New Yorkers and their families.”
“In the aftermath of the deadly Twin Parks fire, we learned that one of the causes was the result of a faulty space heater. As this tragedy was preventable, it was clear we needed to take action,” said Assemblyman Kenny Burgos. “The committee’s passage of my bill, the Safe Space Heaters Act, is a great step towards keeping New Yorkers safe in their homes, and I thank Chair Rozic for making it a priority. I look forward to seeing this bill pass in both legislative houses and its eventual signage into law.”
“I want to thank Assembly Consumer Protection Chair Nily Rozic and Assemblymember Kenny Burgos for their swift passage of A.9181-A/S.7863 which ensures that space heaters sold in New York State conform to the highest possible standards of safety and fire prevention,” said Senator Cordell Cleare. “I am confident that this bill – which requires safety heaters to contain a thermostat, have an automatic shutoff and be certified by an approved body – will save lives.I look forward to Senate passage in short order.”
“On April 16, another fire ravaged an apartment building in my district. Twelve of my constituents are now unable to access their homes and two Queens firefighters were injured while working to contain the flames. Dangerous incidents like this will continue to take place unless we take action. That is why I'm calling for the passage of my legislation, A8639, which will encourage property owners to install fire sprinkler systems by offering a twenty-five percent tax credit. Ensuring residential buildings have sprinkler systems is crucial to preventing more fire-related tragedies across our state. I’m proud to sponsor this bill in the Assembly and urge my colleagues in the legislature to pass it this session,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas
NYS Senator Leroy Comrie said, “When we upgrade our fire safety laws, we protect the homes, lives, and well-being of New Yorkers. That’s why New York State should partner in providing a tax credit for the installation of fire sprinkler systems as proposed in S3662A/A8639. In total, this fire safety package would take critical steps forward in ensuring safety from deadly fires for our communities. I am grateful to my colleagues and advocates who stand in support. We must honor the memory of all those impacted by catastrophic fires by passing these critical bills.”
“The Twin Parks fire took the lives of 17 people, including eight children in my district and destroyed many families.As elected officials we have to make sure that a tragedy like this never happens again,” said Assemblywoman Yudelka Tapia. “With my legislation tenants will have the right to take action and make landlords and building owners accountable for keeping and maintaining self-closing fire-safety doors at all times.”
This legislative package follows a string of recent fires including a January fire in the Bronx which was one of the most fatal fires in New York City since 1990. An investigation revealed a space heater inside an apartment at the Twin Parks North West sparked the massive fire that left 17 people dead. It also responds to numerous lawsuits which have been filed against the developers and investment companies associated with the building alleging negligence.
At the city level, legislation to mandate sprinkler systems has failed to materialize aside from an Executive Order Mayor Adams signed “to strengthen fire safety enforcement and outreach” and while there is existing law requiring landlords ensure self-closing doors are working properly, the lack of enforcement mechanisms have made them toothless.
These bills must pass the Consumer Protection, Ways and Means, and Government Operations Committees respectively.