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Buildings Department inspectors this year gained access to suspected illegal conversions less than half the time - a rate similar to that of previous years. And the departmentâ€™s response time to nonemergency complaints, including illegal apartments, actually got worse. Last year Mayor Bloomberg had committed to cracking down on illegal apartment conversions after two fatal fires. The administration counters that it has increased its focus on the highest risk locations.
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Following the Deutsche Bank fire in August of 2007, Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried championed legislation that created the New York State Taskforce on Building and Fire Safety.
This summer, the taskforce issued a report that found discrepencies that allow state-owned buildings in New York City to be exempt from certain fire regulations.
Now both legislators are pushing the City Council to act to plug those gaps. Squadron and Gottfried will be holding a press conference at noon outside of the former Deutsche Bank building on Greenwhich and Liberty streets. Following the conference both legislators will testify at the City Council hearing.
Photo of response to Deutsche Bank fire by Brian Fountain.