New York will impose new safety restrictions on the manufacture and sale of electric space heaters in response to the January fire that killed 17 people at the Twin Parks North West apartment building in the Bronx.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Safe Space Heaters Act into law Thursday. It will soon prohibit stores from carrying electric heaters that don’t have a thermostat and an automatic shutoff feature.
The new law will also prohibit the sale of electric heaters that aren’t certified by a testing body approved by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA.
The measure is a direct response to the Jan. 9 fire in the Bronx, which, according to fire officials, was caused by a faulty electric space heater and made worse by faulty self-closing doors that allowed smoke to spread.
The law will take effect in 120 days.
"As the weather gets colder once again and we crank up the heat in our homes, this legislation will help prevent future disasters and keep New Yorkers safe as we ensure higher safety standards for all electric space heaters sold in our state,” Hochul said in a statement.
The state Legislature passed the bill unanimously in May, when it was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Cordell Cleare of Manhattan and Assemblymember Kenny Burgos of the Bronx.
The bill only applies to electric space heaters, which Burgos had previously said was a concession to ensure it wouldn’t outlaw propane heaters used for camping. Those heaters can’t have an automatic shutoff because they aren’t connected to an electric source.
In a statement on Thursday, Burgos said the measure will “keep New Yorkers safe in their homes as we enter these cold winter months.”