Bronx fire: FDNY lieutenant on firefighter injuries, response, fire codes and more


FORDHAM HEIGHTS, the Bronx — Building inspectors and fire investigators were back on the scene Monday after a deadly fire in the Bronx that claimed the lives of 17 people, including eight children, on Sunday.

Mayor Eric Adams announced a new, revised death toll at a Monday press briefing.

The FDNY said 200 firefighters rushed to the scene to battle the fire and help get residents out, some even running out of oxygen in their tanks as they continued rescue efforts.

FDNY Lt. James McCarthy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, spoke with the PIX11 Morning News about the FDNY’s response, any firefighter injuries, the building’s fire codes and more.

McCarthy confirmed two firefighters were injured and hospitalized on Sunday.

“There was consideration of putting them in the hyperbaric chamber, to do oxygen therapy,” he said. “But they have recovered from those injuries and have been sent home.”

McCarthy explained how firefighters’ oxygen tanks carry about 45 minutes worth of air, and then they have a 10 minute escape period after an alarm goes off.

“When they’re trying to save lives, especially with situations like this, they’ll work past when the alarm goes off…until they save lives, and continue doing their jobs as long as possible, and then exit at the last minute,” the lieutenant said.

New York City fire codes generally require apartment doors to be spring-loaded and slam shut automatically, but it was not immediately clear whether this building was covered by those rules.

According to McCarthy, because this building was a federal building, it didn’t need to follow New York City standards for fire protection.

“It’s built with federal money, so it’s a different situation,” he said. “These doors are not required to have them, but they should, and that’s one of the problems we have with federal buildings in our response areas,” McCarthy added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: Mayor Eric Adams announced a revised, slightly lower death toll on Monday afternoon.

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