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Damaged Doors Posing Fire Risks Plague Thousands of Buildings Like Twin Parks

(THE CITY)  GREG B. SMITHSUHAIL BHAT, February 4, 2022

City records show 18,305 open code violations for apartment and stairwell doors that fail to spring shut on recent inspections — the malfunction that made a recent Bronx fire so deadly. The problem has persisted despite past tragedies and stepped-up penalties for landlords, even in buildings next door to those that burned.

Four years before the conflagration that claimed the lives of 17 New Yorkers at the Twin Parks apartments in The Bronx, a devastating blaze tore through another building in the borough under remarkably similar circumstances.

On a frigid night shortly after Christmas 2017, fire broke out in the kitchen of a first floor apartment at 2363 Prospect Ave. in Belmont. Within minutes, thick black smoke spread throughout the building, and when it was over, 13 tenants had perished, including an infant. Six firefighters were injured.

In both the Twin Parks and Prospect Avenue fires, the death toll was magnified by a simple but deadly flaw: smoke and flame caused by a fire in a single apartment rocketed throughout both buildings after doors remained open.

An open door also fanned the flames in a blaze that consumed a Jackson Heights apartment building, leaving dozens of families homeless.

Source: The City