Some of the top New York City politicians have appealed to Congress to impose new regulations on privately-run housing complexes that receive federal subsidies to avoid the repeat of the deadly Bronx housing tower fire that left 17 people dead — including eight children.
On Monday, the politicians want a new rule that would compel landlords to install temperature monitors in buildings where tenants receive housing vouchers to ensure that apartments are receiving the required amounts of heat.
FDNY officials earlier said the initial cause of the deadly fire was a space heater in a third-floor apartment at the high-rise at 333 East 181 Street — and several malfunctioning self-closing doors allowed the deadly smoke to quickly fill the building.
Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-The Bronx) said space heaters are often a cry for help and a cry for heat, often an act of desperation for decent and dignified housing.
“We have to ask ourselves what was the deeper cost. Why were tenants using fire heaters in the first place. And the answer has to do with the chronic lack of heat and hot water,” Torres said.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) said landlords should take charge of providing sufficient heat and water to their tenants.
“We must harness the power of technology Ike heat censors to hold landlords accountable for delivering sufficient heat and hot water because the residents of the Bronx deserve nothing less than safe, decent affordable housing,” Gillibrand said.
Big Apple mayor Eric Adams for his part said the move of the two lawmakers is nice and should be replicated in other areas in the US.
“This is an excellent initiative that is not only useful here in New York but it can be imported throughout the country,” Adams said.