FORDHAM HEIGHTS, the Bronx (PIX11) — A week after a Bronx high-rise fire took the lives of 17 people, including several children, local lawmakers pushed for legislation to hopefully prevent similar tragedies in the future.
New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand and the Bronx’s Rep. Ritchie Torres on Monday announced new legislation that would require the installation of heat sensors in federally owned buildings.
“Heat sensors would enable the real-time reporting of heating levels in each and every apartment,” Torres said. “It would enable real-time reports that will flag when apartment or a building has insufficient heat and hot water.”
Gillibrand is the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate, while Torres is the lead sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives.
“The feeling of loss and devastation shared by this community is not fully comprehensible, and we all have to do what we can to mitigate it, and to prevent it from happening again,” Gillibrand said.
The two officials were joined by Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, as well as City Council members Oswald Feliz and Pierina Sanchez, at a press conference Monday.
In the wake of the deadly fire, a coalition of officials — including federal, state and city lawmakers — have announced a legislative agenda they hoped would stiffen fire codes and building standards to prevent similar tragedies from happening.
The proposals range from requiring that space heaters automatically shut off, to mandating that federally funded apartment projects install self-closing doors on units and stairwells, which would have to be inspected on a monthly basis.
As families bid farewell to their loved ones, others remained in hospitals, some in serious condition because of smoke inhalation.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Sunday that $2 million in aid would be available to help families recover from the tragedy, including help to replace damaged property and money to help with rent or finding a new place to live.
The Mayor’s Fund, Bank of America and other groups said 118 families displaced by the fire would each get $2,250 in aid.
Fundraisers have collected about $400,000 thus far.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.