The more we read about what was happening during the Deutsche Bank building's dismantling and how it turned into, as the Daily News put it, a "deathtrap," the more infuriating it is. A Saturday seven-alarm fire at the building required 275 firefighters and led to the deaths of two.
Not only was a standpipe valve shut off (NY Times: "effectively cutting off the only source of water for firefighters battling" the fire), but even if the valve was open, water wouldn't have been able to travel through the pipes because there were many cracks. Wait, actually it wasn't just shut - a piece of the pipe was actually found in the basement. Seriously, WTF.
The News also reports that stairwells were "sealed" and that the "supposedly 'fire-retardant plywood' used to build decontamination chambers on the floors for workers clearing asbestos and other toxic substances quickly went up in flames." A source told the Post that the contractors could be possibly be charged with criminally negligent homicide. Needless to say, there's a stop-work order at the building.
Mayor Bloomberg said, "We are using every possible resource to find out how this fire started and what went wrong. Certainly, we owe that to Firefighters Beddia and Graffagnino." And here's the city's response to the situation so far - downtown residents, the city still says the air is clear (grain of salt not included).
Photograph of workers testing the air around the Deutsche Bank building by dietrich on Flickr