A man was killed in an apartment accident in SoHo last month when a rusty fire escape step broke loose and fell seven stories to the ground. The step struck a gentleman below in the head and killed him. When investigators arrived at the building, they discovered that there were three more steps on the fire escape that were loose and very likely to fall in the near future. In this particular case, the fire escape had been inspected in 2013 and categorized as safe. According to one expert that inspection failed to note serious deficiencies and if completed properly, could likely have saved a life.
Building owners are only required to inspect fire escapes once every five years under New York City regulations codified in the façade inspection law. And while five years between inspections seems like a long time, there’s something even scarier about this law-it only applies to buildings six stories tall or taller. That means there are thousands of fire escapes in the city that are never legally required to be inspected. Many of them in poor repair are just waiting to cause the next terrible apartment accident in New York City.
Digging further, investigators from the local ABC affiliate and Cisco Meneses, founder of the National Fire Escape Association uncovered several serious safety concerns at every fire escape they examined in Hell’s Kitchen. They further learned that there were over 1,700 complaints regarding unsafe fire escapes logged with NYC’s 311 reporting database within the past 12 months.
One of the most prevalent dangers was rust. Corrosion can eat away at iron and steel fire escapes as well as the fasteners that hold them together and to the sides of buildings. In short, rust can quickly turn a fire escape into a deadly overhead danger.
If you’ve been injured by a defective fire escape (or any other piece of a building’s façade) contact an experienced New York City apartment accident attorney today. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 for your free consultation.