August 18th - August 22nd, 2008
Safety Lapses at Deutsche Bank Prior to Fire
August 18 – An investigation by The Daily News found construction workers at the Deutsche bank building regularly sent sparks flying, started small fires and ignored repeated warnings to stop. The paper obtained internal documents indicating that inspectors knew there was a blatant disregard for basic fire safety rules. An internal FDNY probe is expected to be highly critical of the department’s inspection failures and handling of the fire. Sources told The New York Post that the grand jury investigating the fatal fire is considering racketeering and money laundering charges against the contractors on the job. The story also says the John Galt Corporation, which was subcontracted by Bovis Lend Lease, ignored safety guidelines in dismantling the building. The grand jury is on hiatus until after Labor Day; it has been hearing testimony for the last nine months. According to The New York Times, the DA believes that negligence by City agencies including the Buildings Department and the Fire Department may have contributed directly to the deaths of the two firefighters.
August 18 – Work at the Deutsche bank building was stopped for Monday to honor the memory of the two firefighters, Joseph Graffagnino Jr. and Robert Beddia, who died there a year ago. Plaques in the men’s honor were unveiled at their firehouse in Soho. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the ceremony that the city won't compromise safety for speed as the tower continues to be dismantled. The Mayor also said, “In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe anybody deliberately did anything to make that building less safe. Were they derelict in their duty? Only time will tell.” Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta praised Ms. Graffagnino for carrying on after her husband’s death and he thanked Graffagnino’s father for pushing for safety improvements for emergency responders. Meanwhile, the Uniformed Firefighters Association is urging the FDNY to change procedures so that commanders are notified every 5 minutes about water supply problems while fighting a fire.
FDNY Concludes Review
August 20 - The New York Times is reporting there were among a dozen findings by a team of investigators who were reviewing the deadly fire at the Deutsche Bank building. Enlisted by the New York Fire Department to conduct a formal review of the incident, the report finds fault or concern with many aspects of the building’s demolition and the response to the fire. The report will be turned over to the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau.
Flames Lead to Collapse of WTC 7
August 22 - After three years of research, a team of federal engineers yesterday debunked claims that 7 World Trade Center was intentionally blown up on 9/11, finding instead that raging fires caused the tower to topple, reports the NY Post.
"The reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery. World Trade Center 7 collapsed because of fires fueled by office furnishings. It did not collapse from explosives or fuel oil fires," said Shyam Sunder, lead investigator for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
A team of 50 experts, including metallurgists, explosives experts and structural engineers, pinpointed the cause of the collapse as the failure of a single column. The column between floors 7 and 14 gave way when its supporting girders came loose after expanding from heat.