New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered Aug. 27 a crackdown on fire safety protections for all city demolition, decontamination and construction projects following an Aug. 18 blaze at the Deutsche Bank deconstruction project at Ground Zero in which two firefighters were killed. Bloomberg ordered the city Fire Dept. to mandate "surveillance by every fire unit...of all buildings under construction/demolition," to review "pre-fire plans" and to order new plans created, if necessary at "any potential structures."
Bloomberg also confirmed that city fire marshals have "tentatively" determined that the seven-alarm fire was caused by "careless smoking" by abatement or construction workers on the building's 17th floor. He also pointed to gaps in city and contractor oversight of the building's water supply system and fire safety measures. "Senior fire officers decided against creating a unique fire plan for the building," said the Mayor, who also announced the demotions of three top department officials and the submission of sections of an inoperable building standpipe to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va. for metallurgical analysis.
Work on the demolition project remains halted as multiple investigations continue. Bovis Lend Lease, the project's contractor, did not return calls to confirm whether it has officially terminated the demolition subcontractor, The John Galt Corp. The firm was issued a notice of contract default on Aug. 22.
Bovis also did not confirm reports that two new firms are handling emergency work at the site—Gramercy Group, a Westbury, N.Y.-based demolition and environmental contractor and Atlantic Heydt Corp., a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based contractor and scaffolding firm.