HUD Fire Safety Bills Planned

Legislation | January 27, 2022 | by Linda Couch

The recent Philadelphia and Bronx apartment fires are still at the front of Congress’s mind.

The recent Philadelphia and Bronx apartment fires are still at the front of Congress’s mind.

Following letters sent by House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman wrote letters to officials and providers in New York, Pennsylvania and HUD seeking answers to questions about the fires and oversight of the properties, New York Senator and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) and Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) announced plans on January 25 to introduce legislation.

The legislation, according to statements made at the site of the Bronx fire, would require the installation of sprinkler systems in public housing and Section 8 housing and require HUD residential buildings to have self-closing doors.

The bill will also require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require space heaters to have automatic shut offs.

The Philadelphia fire was in a property owned by the public housing authority, the Bronx fire was in a privately owned, 120-unit apartment building that had more than 70 project-based vouchers in it. All 17 who died in the Bronx fire died of smoke inhalation, where investigators believe two malfunctioning self-closing doors allowed smoke from one apartment (thought to have ignited after prolonged juxtaposition of a space heater to a mattress) to spread through the building.