Tuesday, August 21, 2007

City, Contracting Agent To Blame For Deutsche Bank Deathtrap

The NY Daily News has the story:

Demolition crews at the former Deutsche Bank building turned the cursed skyscraper into a deadly firetrap for two firefighters - and the standpipe that was supposed to send water to the fire wasn't even connected.

Instead of using steel or other fire-resistant material to build partitions on each floor to protect the public from falling debris, the crews used plywood, sources told the Daily News yesterday.

Stairwells were sealed, and even the supposedly "fire-retardant plywood" used to build decontamination chambers on the floors for workers clearing asbestos and other toxic substances quickly went up in flames.

Adding to the string of tragic mistakes, the city disclosed yesterday that a chunk of the standpipe was disconnected, a valve broken and there were other breaks in the system. The FDNY slapped the contractor with a violation.


City officials, who were hunkered down all day in meetings about the fire, contended the FDNY and the Buildings Department inspected the standpipe "numerous" times but they provided no dates or documentation.


Fire officials believe Saturday's blaze erupted on the 17th floor on the south side of the building near a decontamination area.

"Marshals have also spoken to eyewitnesses who've stated that workers would smoke and extinguish cigarettes in the area," the report states.

The contracting agent cut the standing pipe that provided water to the building, shut off the sprinkler system, erected wood partitions everywhere and allowed employees to smoke in the building.

And the city, which claims to have inspected the site "numerous times," either is lying and never inspected it or did inspect it and let all these violations stand.

Either way, the fault for the senseless deaths of two firemen Saturday while fighting a fire at the Deutsche Bank Building lies with both the contracting agent and the city.

But I'm sure Mayor Moneybags will defend both himself and the contracting agent CEO and blame the death on the peons who were stupid enough to smoke in the building.

Never mind that the people in charge of the building dismantling and the people responsible for the regulation of that company abdicated their duties to clear up the violations.

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