Hamilton Heights fire engulfs roof of apartment building, injures nine, officials say

A fire in Hamilton Heights reached at least five alarms on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, the FDNY said. (Credit: @KevinClamato via Twitter)

A fire that heavily damaged a Hamilton Heights apartment building Friday, displacing residents and sending a massive plume of smoke into the sky, is finally under control Saturday morning.

The six-alarm fire broke out at 565 W. 144th St., near Broadway, just before 3:15 p.m., according to fire officials. High winds caused the rapid spread of the flames through the top floor of the building.

It was brought under control as of 9 a.m. Saturday, an FDNY spokeswoman said.

Roughly 255 firefighters and paramedics responded to the scene, according to the FDNY.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries, according to the agency. One civilian and one police officer also suffered from smoke inhalation. At least four people were taken to area hospitals.

The American Red Cross of Greater New York is helping 20 families, including 44 adults and nine children, who were displaced by the fire. The organization set up a reception center Friday night at PS 153, located at 1750 Amsterdam Ave., where more than 40 people had access to hot meals, a spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“Throughout the night Red Cross workers provided housing and support for essentials (food, clothing, personal care needs, medication, etc.),” the spokesman added. “We will continue to provide long term support as the families begin the recovery process.”

One tenant remains unaccounted for and may have been inside the building when the fire broke out, FDNY Chief James Leonard said at a press conference held Saturday morning.

“At this point, we are going to reenter the building under safe conditions … to search and see if that person is up in the building,” Leonard said.

At the height of the fire, its billowing smoke plume could be seen from across the Hudson River, social media posts show. One woman tweeted a video showing the smoke rising into the sky from her office window on 137th Street.

Syndee Winters, an actress who lists “Hamilton: The Musical” under her credits, tweeted a Periscope video from across the street that shows pieces of flaming debris falling to the ground as firefighters doused the building with water from the buckets of ladder trucks.
The six-story building has 50 units and was built in 1920, according to the real estate listing firm StreetEasy. Official from the city’s Department of Buildings will visit the scene Saturday to determine whether the entire structure should come down, Leonard said at the press conference.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

By AM NEW YORK. Lauren Cook and Nicole Levy lauren.cook@amny.com, nicole.levy@amny.com November 18, 2017

Man found on fire escape with bag of burglary tools: Cops

By Caitlin Mota
The Jersey Journal

JERSEY CITY — A 27-year-old man was found climbing a fire escape with a backpack full of burglary tools in Downtown, authorities said.

Casey Collado was arrested on Wednesday after a brief foot pursuit with plain clothes officers, a police report of the incident indicates.

At about 12:20 a.m., police were called to Wayne Street on reports of a man on the second floor fire escape of the building. The officers found Collado trying to climb a nearby fence when they arrived, the report states.

Police told him to stop and he refused. The officers called for backup and Collado was arrested on Christopher Columbus Drive a short time later, authorities said.

Collado was carrying two crowbars, a hammer, and a screwdriver in his backpack. Police also found nine credits cars, a hospital ID card, and a drivers license, the report states.

He was charged with criminal trespassing, possession of burglary tools, and resisting arrest.

Source: Caitlin Mota may be reached at cmota@jjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @caitlin_mota. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.

Massive party in Denton ends with floor collapsing into apartment below

A jam-packed apartment party in Denton ended abruptly Sunday morning when the floor went crashing into the apartment below.

The incident was caught on video from multiple angles. People at the party, many of them UNT students, had to crawl from the empty second-floor apartment, back to the third. Somehow, injuries were minor.

Videos show water spewing from broken pipes as people climb over beams and plywood to escape.

It could’ve been life or death for Carley Carroll, who lives in that second-floor apartment below the party. Carroll and her three roommates, all sophomores at the University of North Texas, were not home at the time. They were at the Denton Police Department, making a noise complaint just before 2 a.m.

“I have nowhere to go. Everything I own is in there,” said Carroll. “That’s life-threatening. If we were in our living room, we wouldn’t have made it out because by what we’ve seen, it’s just completely gone.”

Carroll and her roommates are not the only ones affected. Fifty other residents are also displaced.

“People gotta grab their wallets, keys, backpacks because we have school tomorrow,” said Trent Blackburn.

Police estimate there were 100 people at the party. Carroll says that’s typical; she’s called the cops on the partygoers before.

“We’ve called and said, ‘It looks like the ceiling is going to cave in,’ so I feel like with us saying that, there could’ve been more that was done,” said Carroll.

Denton Police are working to confirm the previous noise complaints. Police say those type of calls are low priority in nature and people have usually left the party by the time officers arrive.

This incident was upgraded to a possible mass casualty incident. There is now an investigation into the structural failure. Students affected by this say both the apartment management and the university have helped secure places for them to stay, mostly in hotels or dorms and food.

Students who live on the first floor said they’re still dealing with the effects of the collapse. One girl said a bathtub from an upper floor fell into her closet on Monday.

While other people started recording pandemonium at the party, Mickey Hicks’ military training kicked in.

“I just see water spraying everywhere from the plumbing,” he recalled. “People were yelling, screaming. Just trying to find a way to out.”

The 22-year-old was among the 100 partygoers inside this apartment when he felt the floor shaking.

“I like to use common sense. There were too many people jumping. We’re on the third floor. You could feel it,” he said. “I took three steps. Heard chaos and screaming. I was like, ‘I bet you the floor just fell in.'”

Hicks turned back around, opened the door and started reaching for arms.

“I think the military really taught me that,” he said.

Hicks just got out of the Army and says he’ll soon start school at UNT. He guesses he pulled 30 people who were cut and bleeding but not seriously injured.

A spokesman for the complex said structural engineers have been examining the building. Until they get a report, the complex doesn’t know if the damage is repairable or not.

The apartment complex says it will give residents seven days of rent credited to them. Denton Police and Fire are no longer investigating it, but it could progress as a civil matter.

Carroll says fake fundraising pages have been set up by people pretending to be her and her roommates, hoping to take advantage of their situation. They are asking people not to donate to those fundraisers.

Source: FOX4News.com Staff POSTED: NOV 12 2017 10:01PM CST VIDEO POSTED: NOV 13 2017 09:45PM CST UPDATED: NOV 13 2017 09:49PM CST

INSIDE NFPA NEWS, NEW PROJECT BEING EXPLORED: REMOTE INSPECTIONS?


INSIDE NFPA NEWS
Volume 21 – Number 10

Remote Inspections
On the heels of a white paper written and presented by the Building Code Development Committee and a recent article in the NFPA Journal, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council is in receipt of a New Project Initiation Request for the development of an ANSI Accredited Standard to establish protocols and practices for the use of remote inspections of existing buildings, buildings under construction, and building systems for code compliance. Technologies for remote inspections include video, photographs, data submission, and other technologies as they become available. The standards are envisioned to be utilized/adopted by jurisdictions seeking to increase efficiencies, cost, time and resources required for inspections while improving safety for inspectors performing inspection duties. If standards development is approved by the Standards Council, the standard may additionally call for effective contamination control of other foreign matter residue.

NFPA is currently soliciting comments to gauge whether support exists for standards development addressing remote inspections of existing buildings, buildings under construction, and building systems. NFPA specifically seeks input on the following:

1. Are you, or your organization, in favor of the development of a new standard establishing protocol and practices for remote inspections of existing buildings, buildings under construction, and building systems?

2. Please state your reason(s) for supporting or opposing such standards development.

3. Are you or your organization interested in applying for membership on the Technical Committee if standards development is approved by the Standards Council? If yes, please submit an application, in addition to your comments in support of the project, online at: Submit online application*

*Note: Applications being accepted for purposes of documenting applicant interest in committee participation. Acceptance of applications by NFPA does not guaranty or imply the Standards Council will ultimately approve standards development activity on this proposed subject matter.

Please submit all comments, in support or opposition, to standards development for remote inspections as describe, by December 15, 2017 at: stds_admin@nfpa.org

Man injured after jumping out third floor window to escape fire


Man injured after jumping out third floor window to escape fire. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 9 a.m. on October 14, 2017. (WPVI)

ABC6 – FRANKFORD (WPVI) — A man was injured after jumping from a third floor window to escape a fire in Philadelphia’s Frankford section.

Firefighters were called around 7:30 a.m. Saturday to the 4600 block of Leiper Street for a small fire inside an apartment.

When they arrived on the scene, firefighters found the victim suffering multiple injuries from the jump.

There is no word on the victim’s condition.

Firefighters are still investigating what sparked the blaze.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 07:16AM

Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out for this Fire Prevention Week 2017

“Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out,” is the theme for this year’s Fire Protection Week, which will be held October 8–14.

According to a recent NFPA survey, nearly half of all Americans have not developed a home fire escape plan, and do not practice one regularly. Evidence suggests, however, that planning and practice can mean the difference between life and death in a home fire. “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out” will not only seek to teach the public what a home escape plan entails, but also about how quickly home fires can spread and how little time residents have to escape safely. “People tend to think they have more time to escape a home fire than they actually do, and that over-confidence may play a role in why some people don’t develop a home escape plan or practice it regularly,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president for Outreach and Advocacy.

More information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s campaign can be found online at the FirePreventionWeek.org website.

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations of 2017

OSHA just named the Top 10 most cited violations of 2017 at the annual National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo held in Indianapolis, IN.

The National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo brings together the world’s largest gathering of safety professionals annually and this year was no exception. Hundreds of safety professionals attended yet again one of the largest forums for health and safety, products, education, and networking events where they revealed OSHA’s most cited violations for this current year.

As stated by NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P Hersman, “The OSHA Top 10 is more than just a list, it is a blueprint for keeping workers safe. When we all work together to address hazards, we can do the best job possible to ensure employees go home safely each day.”

For those involved in the fire escape industry, it comes as no surprise that Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501) continues to maintain the No. 1 spot on this list. While, scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451) comes in at third and ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053) at sixth place in the list shedding light yet again to the most prominent violations handed out by OSHA thus far.

OSHA states that employers must train workers in hazard recognition and the care and safe use of equipment such as ladders and scaffolds, and fall protection systems.

Falls can be prevented when employees understand proper set up and safe use of equipment.

Ladder Safety: Employees must be trained to properly use a ladder- this includes safety measures like:
-Maintain three points of contact
-Place the ladder on level footing
-Always face the ladder
-Secure the ladder by locking the metal braces at the center of the ladder
-Don’t overreach
-Don’t walk the ladder

Scaffold Safety: Employees must be trained to safely set up and use scaffolds- this includes safety measures like:
-During setup: fully plank scaffolds, complete all guardrails, ensure stable footing and plumb and level
-Ensure proper access to scaffolds
-A competent person must inspect the scaffold before use
-Don’t climb over cross braces
-Don’t stand on guardrails
-Don’t use a ladder on a scaffold
-Roof Safety: Employees must be trained to avoid fall hazards on -a roof and properly use fall protection equipment-this includes safety measures like:
-Make sure your harness fits and is not defective when using PFAS
-Always stay connected/tie off
-Ensure that all anchor points are safe
-Protect all holes, openings and skylights
-Don’t sit or walk on skylights or other openings

Below is a full list of OSHA’s top 10 violations and some NFPA codes and standards in hopes of helping to resolve and mitigate future violations related to stairways and ladders, scaffolding, and fall protection training and requirements.

1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.501): 6,072 violations

2. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200): 4,176 violations

3. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451): 3,288 violations – Scaffolding is addressed in Chapter 8 of NFPA 241, the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. The document provides measures for preventing or minimizing fire damage to structures, including those in underground locations, during construction, alteration, or demolition. More information about this standard and how it applies to all construction projects regardless of size can be found in a recent NFPA Bulletin titled, “Prevention Construction Site Fires”

4. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134): 3,097 violations

5. Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147): 2,877 violations

6. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053): 2,241 violations – Ladder accidents happen all the time it is crucial to perform safety checks before ladders are to be used in order to guarantee safe-working conditions. OSHA encourages you to review the Ladder Safety Checklist before each use.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178): 2,162 violations

8. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212): 1,933 violations

9. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503): 1,523 violations

10. Electrical – Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305): 1,405 violations

Article Created by Gabriel Cabrera, Chief Technology Officer for the National Fire Escape Association on Oct 11, 2017.

Throwback Thursday! 2012 Fire Code Adoption. Back When Fire Escapes First Became Subject to Specific Examination Requirements

CHANGE TYPE: New

CHANGE SUMMARY: Existing exterior fire escapes require an inspection by a registered design professional or persons acceptable to the fi re code official no more than every 5 years.

2012 CODE: 1104.16.5 Materials and Strength. Components of fire escape stairs shall be constructed of noncombustible materials. Fire escape stairs and balconies shall support the dead load plus a live load of not less than 100 pounds per square foot(4.78 kN/m2). Fire escape stairs and balconies shall be provided with a top and intermediate handrail on each side. The fire code official is authorized to require testing or other satisfactory evidence that an existing fire escape stair meets the requirements of this section.

1104.16.5.1 Examination.
Fire escape stairs and balconies shall be examined for structural adequacy and safety, in accordance with Section 1104.16.5, by a registered design professional or others acceptable to the fire code official every five years, or as required by the fire code official. An inspection report shall be submitted to the fire code official after such examination.

CHANGE SIGNIFICANCE: Building fire escapes are a means-of-egress component in many existing multiple-story buildings. Neither the IBC nor IFC contains a specific definition as to what actually constitutes a fire escape, and in previous editions of the codes, they did not establish a frequency for their inspection. The IBC provisions for existing building in Section 3406.1.2 only permits a fire escape as a means-of-egress component in existing buildings and limits the installation of new fire escapes on existing buildings when the building code official determines they are necessary based on the substantiation by the registered design professional that exterior stairways cannot be used due to the lot line limiting the size of the stair, or conditions where the fire escapes could impact the egress path in sidewalks, alleys, or roads at grade. Additionally,new fire escapes, when allowed by the building code official, cannot utilize ladders or windows as a means of egress component. Fire escapes are typically prohibited in new construction.

A new requirement in Section 1104.16.5.1 establishes an inspection frequency for fire escapes and balconies erected on existing buildings. By design, fire escapes present a lot of concern to code officials because the stairs, ladders, balconies, and mechanical fasteners are commonly constructed of carbon or galvanized steel, which will rust if not properly maintained. Rust is a metal oxide that corrodes and damages carbon or galvanized steel and reduces its strength. The evaluation is necessary to
confirm that this exterior stair egress component satisfies a minimum design load requirement prescribed in Section 1104.16.5, is properly maintained, and is available for service in the event of an emergency that requires the occupants to egress the building. Unless otherwise specified by the fire code official, the 2012 IFC requires an inspection of fire escapes and their balconies every 5 years.

Fire escapes are now subject to specific examination requirements. 1104.16.5.1.

128 PART 3 ■ Building and Equipment Design Features
The individual evaluating fire escapes is required to be a registered design professional or an individual approved by the fire code official. The evaluation should include a review of the requirements in ASCE 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, including the requirements in Section 13.4 for mechanical fasteners and Section 4.4 for handrails and grab bars. If adopted by the jurisdiction, the individual performing the inspection should also review the ASCE 7 Appendix  11B requirements for existing buildings.

2012 International Fire Code Significant Changes Edition

Ottumwa, Iowa Addresses Courthouse Fire Safety

OTTUMWA, IOWA— The initial report from a consulting firm’s May site visit has the county wondering what additional work will have to precede the replacement of windows in the courthouse.

In March the county board of supervisors agreed to have Chairman Jerry Parker contact Victor Amoroso of A and J Associates for recommendations on replacing windows in the courthouse. “There are certain things we can and cannot do,” said Parker, because the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Amoroso and architect Douglas Steinmetz examined the windows in May. Parker told supervisors last week that Steinmetz and Amoroso “found some things they thought we might want to address before we do the windows.”

Two concerns that Parker mentioned were sand in the fifth floor front window and sporadic fire protection.

Sand in the fifth floor front window may indicate that the masonry is pulling apart, Steinmetz’s report says. Photographs and observations made at the time of the site visit were inconclusive though there does appear to be an area of missing exterior mortar, Steinmetz said.

According to the report, exploratory construction will be needed to evaluate the situation. In addition, the missing center pier at this window will have to be reconstructed. “This will help with structural concerns and also reduce the glass area helping to reduce solar gain in the office located by this window,” the report says.

Steinmetz called the fire protection system at the courthouse “spotty.” “System does not provide full coverage along designated exit routes,” his report says.

County Auditor Kelly Spurgeon told supervisors last week that the courthouse is inspected every year, and she doesn’t understand why the deficiency hasn’t been mentioned before.

“It might be good to have the fire inspector look at it,” said Parker at the May 30 board meeting.

Supervisor Greg Kenning suggested that the county address the sprinkler issue before proceeding with the window project.

Supervisors instructed Spurgeon to look into Steinmetz’s concerns in collaboration with courthouse Building Maintenance Manager Andrew Birch.

“I still haven’t read the report yet,” said Spurgeon Monday. Her office is busy with fiscal budgets this time of year. Spurgeon said the courthouse is inspected every year, and spotty coverage of the sprinkler system has never been brought to her attention.

Parker said Monday that there are no sprinklers on the fifth floor of the courthouse. “We don’t know that they are required to be there,” he said. The floor is used only for storage.

Parker said the county also has questions about some fire escapes and exit routes. “Some of the bolts going into that old stone are loose,” said Parker. If the fire escapes are needed, their stability will have to be addressed.

Another issue supervisors want to address involves the escape route through the main courtroom on the third floor. “We keep that door locked,” Parker said. “They were afraid people visiting the courthouse could slip a weapon in there, so we were required to keep that door locked.”

However, the courtroom is designated as an escape route, Parker said. If the fire inspector requires that access to the courtroom be unrestricted for fire safety, the county will not be able to keep the courtroom locked as law enforcement requested.

Anyone in the courtroom has an escape route, Parker said, but when court is not in session, the room is locked, and a different escape route has to be used.

Parker said that he’s contacted Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller to request that the city’s fire inspector look into the issues addressed in the Steinmetz’s report.

Source: Ottumwa Courier
Reporter Winona Whitaker can be contacted at wwhitaker@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @courierwinona.

Howdy Ya’ll! We’ll Be In Texas Next Month To Host a Fire Escape Awareness Seminar, Come Join Us, As We Speak to Local AHJ’s Across Texas About The Dangers of Fire Escapes!

Join us for our monthly meeting & training for June 2017. This month we will be joined by Francisco Meneses with the National Fire Escape Association to discuss fire escapes. We will discuss the basics of code requirements as it relates to the -history of fire escapes -standardizing the process of inspecting fire escape systems -standardizing the process of Repairing, Certifying and/or Load Testing Fire Escape Systems -introduction of Industry Standard Documentation
2012 IFC 1104.16.5.1 Fire escape stairs must be examined every 5 years, by design professional or others acceptable and inspection report must be submitted to the fire code official.

All members in attendance will be issued one CEU for one hour. Please make sure to RSVP and please bring $10 for a buffet lunch.

visit the Fire Prevention Association of North Texas for more details: http://fpant.org/