THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — A new bill that would require the installation of heat sensors at every federally funded rental home was introduced by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday.
The legislation, named “Housing Temperature Safety Act of 2022,” came weeks after a fire in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx that killed 17 people, including eight children. The fire at Twin Parks was caused by a space heater, according to an investigation conducted by the NYPD and FDNY.
The bill would allow federal, state, and local housing administrators to assess heat levels in real-time, which would prevent future fire tragedies, and improve fire safety and housing quality, according to Gillibrand’s office.
The push already received early support from Mayor Eric Adams, who co-authored a similar city law as Brooklyn borough president with then-Council Member Ritchie Torres, a spokesperson for the senator said. Torres, now a congressman, leads companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“I’m proud to introduce the Housing Temperature Safety Act of 2022 in the Senate to ensure buildings comply with all heating requirements during cold-weather months—this bill will help prevent future tragedies like the one that occurred at the Twin Parks Northwest community,” said Gillibrand.
If passed, the legislation would:
- Require the installation of heat sensors in Housing and Urban Development-assisted housing units, including federal public housing, HUD-assisted rental assistance programs, housing for individuals with AIDS, Section 202 housing for low-income seniors, and rural housing assistance programs.
- Require owners of covered units to collect data from the internet-connected sensors six times a day.
- Instruct the HUD Secretary to publish guidance 180 days after enactment.
- Require a report one year after enactment on the status of implementation. This report would include data collected from the heat sensors and the number of units with sensors, owners who have installed sensors, and fatalities in a covered building related to fire, hypothermia, or other temperature-related causes.
Gillibrand is also a co-sponsor of the Public Housing Fire Safety Act, which would establish a grant program to provide federal funding for public housing agencies to install automatic sprinkler systems, according to her office.