Investigation into the fire at 130 Liberty continues
State and city officials, along with more than 100 downtown community members filled the New York State Assembly Hearing room at 250 Broadway last night. They gathered to better understand the course of events leading to and repercussions of the fire at 130 Liberty Street on August 18th.
The meeting was called by Community Board 1 and was co-sponsored by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Martin Connor, and City Council Member Alan Gerson.
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) Chairman Avi Schick led the discussion, which began with a moment of silence for fallen firefighters Robert Beddia and Joe Graffagnino.
Schick was joined by LMDC President David Emil and Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) Acting Executive Director Robert Harvey and Environmental Director Tom Kunkel. Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler spoke on behalf of the city, beside Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Patricia Lancaster and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd, and representatives of the Fire Department (FDNY) and Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Members of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also participated.
The first update came from Kunkel, who reported that all 12 air monitors around 130 Liberty Street and others throughout Lower Manhattan remained functional through the event. Kunkel said 306 air samples for asbestos were collected, as were samples for particulate matter, metals, and other potential contaminants. The air monitoring reports continue to be available to the public online, and raw data starting from August 18th will be posted on the LMDC’s website and LowerManhattan.info shortly.
Air Monitoring Documents - Click to Download
Summary of Air Sampling Results at the Street Level Data through August 20, 2007
PM Data August 18, 2007
PM Data-10 minute average August 18, 2007
130 Liberty Street LMDC Ambient Air Monitoring Station Locations
Street Level Post-Fire Air Sampling Locations
130 Cedar Street Elevated Air Monitoring Locations
Monitoring Reports - Click to Download
Mobile Monitoring Report August 20, 2007 AM
Mobile Monitoring Report August 20, 2007 PM
Air Monitoring Report August 20, 2007
Mobile Monitoring Report August 22, 2007 AM
Mobile Monitoring Report August 22, 2007 PM
Click to view air monitoring reports from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Click here
For a description of the air monitoring program. Click here
Post-Fire Structural Assessment - Click to Download
LMDC/LMCCC has received its Contractor’s report outlining the structural condition of 130 Liberty Street that was prepared by Thornton Tomasetti, the Engineer-of-Record for Bovis Lend Lease. The report also includes a proposal for shoring necessary to reinforce the two bays damaged during the fire.
Post-Fire Structural Assessment August 20, 2007
Shoring Proposal - Click to Download
The shoring proposal has been reviewed and approved by the New York City Department of Buildings and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was also reviewed by URS, the Owner’s Representative.
Shoring Proposal August 20, 2007
The DEP, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other regulators noted that elevated levels of particulates were detected in the air during the fire, as is expected from a large building fire. However, those particulates decreased rapidly once the fire was controlled, and Lower Manhattan’s air quality is safe.
Harvey, who along with other LMCCC managers assists the LMDC in overseeing the project, reported that the building had been cleaned and approved by regulators for deconstruction to the 20th floor. Floors 17, 18, and 19 were partially cleaned. He added that public and private engineers have deemed the building structurally sound. Some wooden planks on the scaffold that surrounds the building were charred in the fire, but the scaffold itself also is sound and is secured by tiebacks and other structural connections. Those planks will be cleaned and replaced.
LMDC President Emil explained that the FDNY is now conducting an investigation in the building. Though some fire debris cleanup is occurring now, a larger effort will immediately follow the investigation and is projected to take approximately two to three weeks. To help protect the neighborhood, the building’s “safe zone” has been extended by closing the surrounding streets (Greenwich, Albany, and Washington) and new sheds are being erected on the perimeter to guard against falling debris.
Schick noted that only abatement work was taking place on the day of the fire, with far fewer than the usual 300-plus workers at the site than are present on a regular weekday. Crews were at work vacuuming and removing dust from the building’s partially abated floors. At this point, the fire is believed to have started on floor 17 at approximately 3:30 p.m. The former 40-story tower building had been deconstructed to the 26th floor.
“The questions of what happened, how it happened, and who’s responsible for it happening must be answered before we can even begin to put together a plan about how to proceed,” said Schick. “Until we know what went wrong and why we can’t implement any new plan. We are focusing on issues of safety and issues of the investigation.”
Contractor Bovis Lend Lease and subcontractor John Galt Corporation were not present at the meeting, but Schick assured the public that their roles are key in the investigation.
Addressing a question from a Tribeca resident, Deputy Mayor Skyler added that the FDNY and other city agencies did not believe it was necessary to evacuate the area on the day of the fire. He said that the deconstruction will not proceed until a revised evacuation plan and community notification plan are in place.
Fire inspection teams also are evaluating the fire-fighting systems inside Fiterman Hall and 130 Cedar Street, the two other buildings that still stand damaged from 9/11 but are soon to be deconstructed and rehabilitated (respectively).
Updated information on the city’s response, as well as air monitoring test results and roadway restrictions, is available at www.NYC.gov, www.renewnyc.com, and by calling 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115). The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is offering resources and information on coping during times of trauma at www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/mhdpr/mhdpr-fact.shtml.