Heated Criticism on Bank Fire Response
August 22nd, 2007

Until fire marshals’ investigation into the cause of the Deutsche Bank building fire on Saturday is completed, the Environmental Protection Agency cannot begin to reseal the building to keep in hazardous toxins. And that is likely to take weeks.

That development was called “unacceptable” by Congressman Jerrold Nadler at a packed Community Board 1 hearing last night, where scores of residents hammered federal, state and local officials on what they told community residents during the fire and how they are going to protect residents from now on. On Saturday, as the fire raged, no one came to people’s doors or directed them on whether an evacuation was necessary.

Most residents compared officials’ responses to what occurred during and following the September 11 attacks . Then too, residents said, officials assured the community that the air quality in the area surrounding the World Trade Center was fine. But later, many found out that was not the case.

“Lower Manhattan is under a toxic cloud of uncertainty,” said one hearing attendee who described himself as a September 11 first responder. “Why as a precaution did you not evacuate the neighborhood pending the results that are not in yet?”

Representatives from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center are posting air sampling results on their websites.

Residents also urged officials to suspend the high-rise’s deconstruction until a communication and neighborhood evacuation plan were established. Others said work should not continue until Bovis Lend Lease, the contractor dismantling the building, is replaced. Although Bovis representatives received an invitation from Community Board 1 members to attend the emergency hearing, they did not show up.

“There is no excuse for what happened here,” said Kimberly Flynn of
9/11 Environmental Action . “We are tired of incompetent contractors.”

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman Avi Schick assured residents that work would not continue until the state was confident it could be done safely.

Both the Manhattan district attorney and the state attorney general are reportedly taking up investigations into the fire.

By on August 22, 2007, 10:39 am
In category: Environment,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Heated Criticism on Bank Fire Response”

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