Space heater blamed for NYC fire that killed 17, including 8 children: “You see kids fighting for their life”

1 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 18:02:44ID: s0q7j7
Space heater blamed for NYC fire that killed 17, including 8 children: "You see kids fighting for their life"
3 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 19:10:19ID: hs3mxmu

I had a space heater once that sat in a closet over a couple of years, was a solid little heater that worked great. While it sat I guess some lubricant hardened in a bearing or something, and when someone plugged it in the motor was hard to turn, and drew way more amps than the cord was rated for, but less than the breaker (15), and the plug caught fire from the heat. Luckily someone was right there and saw it. So if you have one with a hot cord (warm is OK, too hot to touch is NOT) get rid of it.

ID: hs3ny91

Also, aim for buying a new space heater that labels itself for a medium or large room. They use the same amount of power as the small room space heaters, but they usually have better safety features.

ID: hs3w1r3

Not usually better safety features, just larger fans, or a design more appropriate for spreading heat further.

ID: hs54b8y

An ordinary oscillating fan works well for distributing heat throughout the room. The exact same fan used in summer can also work in winter.

I have an oscillating fan near my heater. The fan itself generates no heat, but by mixing the air in the room the room feels much more evenly warm. Much more cozy.

ID: hs3vwtj

Warm is also not great. Warm indicates too much current is being drawn. Your plugs should be room temperature. No more, no less.

ID: hs3wn6z

I did not know this. My phone charger gets pretty warm

ID: hs3wy4t

Cords will get warm, resistance is a thing. I just checked some random power cords and they're a few degrees above room temp. Conduit codes are designed to allow for heat dissipation. But as a quick check, being a little warm is ok, being hot is absolutely not OK.

4 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 18:44:15ID: hs3iko3

Hits close to home, I had a friend die in an apt fire when I was younger. I never heard the cause but it was by someone else in the building.

ID: hs6l3u5

That’s terrible. It may have been a long time ago but that still sucks. Sorry.

5 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 20:11:17ID: hs3wxhy

Sounds like the biggest problem was leaving the door open. Had a neighbor do the exact same thing in our building too. (NYC) Took the elevator down, call 911 and left! Firefighters had to find the correct floo


ID: hs519yf

Also apparently there is an automatic door closer required by law and the door had one but it did not function. It was inspected about 7 months ago and worked then.

ID: hs4cqdd

People just don't know. They see a fire and just gtfo. There needs to be more public awareness traininig.

Starting in schools would be great. I remember in the early 80s my family (well, minus my dad) started wearing seat belts because we learned at school that they were important and I hounded my family into wearing them. We got in a pretty bad wreck and I probably would've gone through the windshield were it not for the seatbelt I was wearing.

6 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 03:20:36ID: hs5pok2

The heater wasn’t the problem. The building owne

that couldn’t supply enough heat to the apartment so that they had to use something else was the problem.

ID: hs6d4sk

The fact that this isn't higher up is mind boggling to me.

7 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 18:35:12ID: hs3h3dq

Unfortunately, tragedies like this happen all too often. space heaters are often blamed for fires that kill people, and it's easy to see why - they're a common cause of fires. My deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families of those who lost their lives in this fire.

ID: hs4c1ze

At least we have less of 'grandma fell asleep smoking and her recliner caught fire and the whole house went up' these days.

That almost happened to me as a toddler. My dad and granddad smelled smoke and investigated in time to douse the recliner with water and then drag it outside the house and thoroughly hose it down. Obviously ruined the recliner, but kept the house from going up in flames.

ID: hs4qsm8

You don't hear about as many deaths from people falling asleep smoking anymore because they started putting a coating on cigarette papers that keeps them from burning if you're not actively puffing. Used to be if you lit a cigarette and left it to burn, you'd come back to a perfect line of ash. Now if you light it and leave it, it'll just go out.

ID: hs45crg

Isn’t more like improper use of the space heater that causes the fire?

ID: hs51nrp

Or a landlord / building that won’t install proper heat. Pretty common nyc problem

ID: hs482ix

Generally yes. Either using an inappropriate extension cord, blocking safety features, or ignoring warnings and setting the heaters immediately adjacent to flammable objects.

8 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 18:54:36ID: hs3kbb2

And that person probably had that space heater because the building doesn’t give heat. I had to put plastic on my windows because my building refuses to give heat especially when it’s really cold and that’s the only thing keeping me warm.

That’s NYC for you though, they want you pay way too much for rent for apartments that are not even worth $800 a month.

ID: hs3v7ql

The usual NYC apartment experience is the complete opposite, roasting all winter because you're on an old steam system designed to heat a building with all the windows open.

(Back in the 1918-20 influenza epidemic, opening your windows for fresh air to avoid getting sick was recommended, so buildings were designed with a heating system powerful enough to compensate for all the windows being open)

ID: hs4v4u8

“The hottest summer I ever experienced was winter in a New York apartment”

ID: hs43lne

That might explain my college dorms. I would regularly leave the window partially open overnight in the middle of winter just to keep it reasonable. Was nice for keeping cans of soda cold, too.

ID: hs4l6pr

Ironically they would save double digit %s on their fuel costs if they fixed the system instead of letting their heat float out the windows.

ID: hs43g87

Wouldn't be surprised if we find out something like that.

Article mentioned another thing though

Some residents said they ignored the sound of smoke alarms at first because false alarms are common in their building.

Also read something about that here

Residents who spoke with @THECITYNY said the building had a faulty alarm system for years, going off at all hours of the day for false alarms.

“Nobody paid attention because they were so used to it ringing all the time.”

ID: hs55d9h

Alarm fatigue is a very real problem. We're surrounded by alarms that go off constantly, to the point that you tune them out subconsciously. Car alarms, vehicle backup alarms, fire alarms from cooking mishaps, amber alerts from 500 miles away, and so on.

I don't know what the solution for this is, but its not putting even more alarms on more things.

ID: hs43dm8

It gets even better.

The landlord had a lot of complaints racked up against him, especially regarding heating.

He is now working for the new Mayor.

Blaming a space heater for this horrific and avoidable tragedy feels like letting Gropper off the hook.

ID: hs44bgm

But that’s NYC for ya.

They hated DeBlasio for the wrong reasons and elected a guy who’s the walking epitome of corruption.

ID: hs3sz0h

One of the biggest issues are in fact the windows/drafts in these apartments. You can pump heat all day and it literally goes right out the window.

Public housing is notorious for boiler breakdowns and old systems as well

ID: hs3lc3h

Was the electricity in the building properly maintained as well? If the electricity was bad, that can start a fire.

ID: hs3lzna

Im not sure but looking at the building it looks like public housing and PHB are usually neglected purposely in order to sabotage the idea that Public Housing is good.

ID: hs3lrlk

All reports say that the building did have heat

ID: hs3t099

I once lived in a building with hot water. The thing was that the super upstairs would turn it down when he didn't need hot water so that you could only have 1/2 a hot shower in the morning. That was unless he was doing laundry.

So having heat might be different than HAVING HEAT.

ID: hs3m7op

Having heat one day a week isn’t having heat. I literally live down the block from this building, I know how they work, if they aren’t giving heat in my building to the point where tenants got together in order to complain about it then I wouldn’t expect any different in this situation.

ID: hs4m93e

My building is so damn hot i need to turn on the AC in NYC winter.

ID: hs3muuy

Of course some of these milquetoast pussboys would downvote my comment because anything that doesn’t sound accurate to their little perfect worlds isn’t true right? Fuck you.

9 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 00:21:02ID: hs4zg0y

Back when I was young and lived in an apartment I lost most of my belongings because a neighbor left a candle lit overnight while she slept. Before that we had to evacuate at one point for a few hours because of a contained fire caused by a smoker. I will never live in an apartment again.

10 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 03:52:29ID: hs5u6yf

Let’s all keep in mind as the story is to blame the space heater, that the real problem was that the building was too cold (landlord controls the heat) so they needed on in the first place. And it’s likely that the electrical was old and poorly maintained given the neighborhood. So the more important questions are why do these housing conditions exist and how can we improve the living standards in historically neglected communities?

ID: hs6agkf

The building was neglected by the owner, who valued profits more than upkeep. Btw, the owner is on the mayor’s transition team. For housing issues.

ID: hs7azde

Oh yea. The most corrupt mayor in a while. It’s gonna a be a wild ride with him.

11 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 18:09:30ID: hs3cu6o

Very sad to see all those people dying.

12 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 20:18:53ID: hs3y627

The question is how did it spread so quickly? I know it was reported that the door to the apartment where the fire started was left open (weren't there fire doors that slam shut unless held open?) and that's how the smoke spread but the rest of the doors should have protected the other units. I could see smoke inhalation killing some people but aren't you meant to be safe for an hour even in a neighbouring apartment? Something doesn't add up but I'm sure there will be an investigation. The door being open can't have been the only issue.

ID: hs4mqra

People that barricaded their doors were safe. Those that braves the smoke trying to escape died. Preliminary reports anyway.

ID: hs4nle2

Ah that makes more sense but still, the fire had to have spread for there to have been enough smoke to fill the entire building. I guess cause of death will tell a better picture. I fear some people may have fallen or been trampled on the stairs in a panic.

ID: hs63lgm

I don't think you understand what fires are like these days. Furniture and drapes are often made of highly flammable materials especially if they're cheaper. And if you're living in the Bronx they're going to be cheaper because you're poor. These materials behave completely differently than you'd expect. Here's an example for you.

ID: hs6czzq

I wish I hadn’t watched that right before bed

13 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 00:33:44ID: hs519zv

It’s going to keep happening with gas heating being so expensive. People are going to try alternatives.

ID: hs61uwa

This is very true

14 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 18:32:27ID: hs3gmr6

Space heaters have always scared the crap out of me. Id rather just be cold

ID: hs4ueys

Also: living in communal buildings where you are at the mercy of your dumbest neighbors!

ID: hs3xvct

Space heater fires are often due to an extension cord or power strip rather than the heater itself.

Cheap, thin extension cords used with high power appliances are a huge danger that many people are unaware of.

ID: hs4a15r

Could always go with one of the oil filled ones. Those are much safer.

ID: hs3iptv

Well fridge fires are pretty horrific aswell so no escaping that one.

ID: hs3ma13

I've been living with fridges for over 30 years and never had a fire. I also live in the USA and that is an indian website. I also don't know a single person who had their fridge catch on fire. The fridge will just quit working. You can tell if its not working if you have a fridge/freezer combo most people do, if your ice is melting, if your ice is not ice, then you know your fridge is not working. I do know people who had their fridge flood their house when something malfunctioned, that's not a fun experience.

The clothes dryer is another story. I do know people who had problems with their clothes dryer and it caught on fire. Some of this is due to bad electricity or outdated electricity in the house. Its fairly easy for a dryer to catch on fire if you aren't cleaning the lint properly or if you let it build up like crazy in the hoses. The dryer will usually stop working if it detects a fault though.

I also know plenty of people who had oven fires. This is usually due to neglect or not watching things properly.

Be careful with anything that has a heating element.

ID: hs4c721

Me, I'm terrified of lint built up from dryers catching fire.

ID: hs3u192

Me too!! I always turn mine off when I leave the room, but if I am sitting right there keeping an eye on it, I am fine.

ID: hs3xtbx

I have one in my bathroom. I always make sure it’s not touching anything and I never leave the room while it’s plugged in. Definitely not an appliance I trust implicitly.

ID: hs4lgxt

The radiator ones are pretty safe. The heating element is totally enclosed, so the can't ignite anything. Just don't use an extension cord.

15 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 19:15:47ID: hs3nu3b

Change the laws to mandate that ALL highrise buildings have fire sprinklers. Stop sacrificing human life in the name of corporate profit.

ID: hs3qguq

My parents are buying a 1 story house with a sprinkler system. All new construction in California has to have them regardless of size.

ID: hs47u8e

Well I mean, California is known for spontaneously combusting for 1/3rd of the year, whereas in New York, it rains fairly consistently...

ID: hs3oy41

I’m surprised NY building codes don’t require sprinklers in all buildings in this day and age.

ID: hs3pyk4

The problem is that these older buildings are often grandfathered in and not required to meet the new regulations

ID: hs3zldo

Some municipalities do require sprinklers in all buildings, but it's usually limited to new construction as retrofits can be very expensive.

ID: hs3yk1s

Grenfell didn't have sprinklers either. Of course there were lots of other issues there.

ID: hs54j8v

Would central heating help too, so people don't have to plug in space heaters?

ID: hs6zcfk

I'm not sure if it would work for such a large building. I actually have a gas furnace in my apartment as it was built in the late 60's

ID: hs3oyw8

High rise buildings generally have sprinklers. This was an apartment building…

ID: hs3sm8p

A high-rise building is defined as any building taller than 75 feet above street level for firetrucks. This building is legally a high-rise.

ID: hs40tlk

Yeah, more laws will fix it!

17 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 20:27:36ID: hs3zlk5

I’ve had a modern one just catch on fire - woke me up and started making tons of noise - I panicked, leaped out of bed and pulled it out of the socket while the unit was smoking and burning up

ID: hs6l7q2

FWIW ...

Modern ones are typically PTC (positive temperature coefficient) which are self-regulating: the hotter they get, the less hot they can get.

However, cheap units can be housed in unapproved plastic enclosures that can't withstand the heat.

Always make sure to buy an approved heater!

Quartz radiant (more expensive) and old resisitive element (typically coiled Nichrome wire, or ceramic encapsulated wire like that used in stove elements) don't share that self-regulating ability.

Most heaters fail because of contacting something flammable, or overloading the circuit. We've had a fire at the office when someone plugged-in a heater and some lights, and left them on overnight. Heaters are now banned at the office.

Vaccum a completely cooled unit regularly! Most people fail to do this.

20 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 03:46:02ID: hs5tan5

Just saw that they're also saying the fire doors in the building "malfunctioned". They also mention that smoke detectors went off so often that residents just ignored them.

I bet residents also put door stops on the fire doors to keep them open because the smoke alarms went off, and officials are afraid to blame the victims just yet so they say "malfunctioned".

21 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 00:09:57ID: hs4xvya

I'd like to see the owner of this building charged with 17 counts of negligent homicide. The building had insufficient heat, which is illegal in NYC, the blame for the fire is squarely on the shoulders of the landlord.

22 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 20:35:32ID: hs40w8r

Anyone happen to know the brand/model of the heater ?

ID: hs45foj

It is not necessarily the heater. Could have been a power strip which the heater was plugged into overloading which is common with space heaters pulling so much power.

23 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 19:23:47ID: hs3p5xu

Throw that landlord in jail and toss away the key. If a tenant has to resort to a space heater, that means that the buildings heating was inadequate to provide tolerable conditions.

Hope that parasite rots. Their building has a mass of complaints, including for heating

ID: hs4hmku

Not really. Our apartment has good heating but we use a floor heater because we’d rather have a large couch and entertainment system than be able to use the baseboard heater in the living room.

ID: hs4j8gn

Again, their building has a bunch of complains for no heat.

25 :Anonymous2022/01/10(Mon) 20:57:12ID: hs44fd0

RIP. Accidents happen every day!.

26 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 11:49:01ID: hs729nx

My nephew died of hyperthermia from a space heater. His temp was 108 two hours after he was pronounced dead.

27 :Anonymous2022/01/11(Tue) 13:22:10ID: hs7bo24

A little confusing.How does a fire spread to the third floor of a two-story building?

If I was on the second floor when the fire started, I would go out a window.That's at most maybe a 10 foot drop to the ground.Maybe I'll twist an ankle; better than dying.

I can see lots of lawsuits coming if the alarm system gave off lots of false alarms and the automatic fire doors didn't close. Someone's got a lot of 'splaining to do.