After two lower Manhattan blazes that stemmed from wooden roof decks, fire commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano is warning New Yorkers that all that extra rent you pay for the comfort of enjoying that view could put you in danger. He says that wooden roof decks, when left uncared for, will dry out and become prone to lighting on fire in the warmer months. “It may be nice to have a roof deck, but make sure it’s done according to the law, according to the codes."
It took more than 70 firefighters to quell the fire that erupted from a wooden deck atop the Mercantile Exchange building on Broadway on Monday. Four firefighters and one civilian suffered minor injuries, and firefighters had to cut into the roof to extinguish flames that had burnt the roof's support beams. The previous Thursday, the roof of 240 East Houston Street caught fire, and investigators suspect it was caused by renovations taking place on the roof.
For all the newfound concern over fire-prone wood decks, there seems to be little on the FDNY site about preventing such a fire. They do have, however, plenty of tips on rooftop BBQ safety. For instance, "Don't use grills in a garage, porch, deck or on top of anything that can catch on fire," and "Have a fire extinguisher, a garden hose attached to a water supply, or at least 16-quarts of water close by in case of a fire." Oh, and in case of fire, call Ted.