Only two weeks since the FDNY and NYPD seized generators and biofuels from Occupy Wall Street protesters—citing a fire hazard—the generators have returned to Zuccotti Park. According to The Atlantic Wire, they were returned late yesterday in response to objections from Occupy Wall Street lawyers, who say the generators did not violate any FDNY code and the FDNY didn't follow proper procedures. Between this and the bike generators, OWS now has the power to protest till 2025 and beyond...except the FDNY still don't want them using them in the park.
The FDNY told us that the generators were initially removed because they posed a "life safety hazard"—yesterday they were "returned to the rightful owners, but they are not permitted inside the park." Guess that means all those extra bikes will really be coming in handy this winter.
A day after the generators were taken, OWS lawyers immediately filed a petition to the FDNY demanding the return of their equipment. OWS-representing lawyer Yetta Kurland gave The Atlantic an idea why she thought they were returned: "I believe they gave the generators back because they had no basis to confiscate them. When there’s a fire inspection, the normal procedure is for the FDNY to give corrective feedback...That didn’t happen here. Rather than saying do this or that or taking corrective steps, they simply confiscated the generators and didn’t even list on the confiscation order what the specific violations were."
For the past two weeks, protesters have turned to green and sustainable pedal power to solve their energy needs. Despite the FDNY's insistence that "no one will be permitted to bring portable generators or flammable liquids into the park," Kurland believes protesters broke no laws using them: "Generators in parks are not automatically violations of any safety codes. In fact, the regulations say you can have a diesel generator or a gasoline generator as long as it’s under a certain BTU or a certain amount of feet from a tent or structure."
This leads us to believe protesters may have to be looking over their shoulders for the next few weeks—just one week ago, police and FDNY were still searching the park every day for fuel and generators to remove. That included one from Aly's food truck (as you can see in the photo above)—thankfully, now they're back in businesses.