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After Deadly Bronx Fire, Space Heaters Deemed ‘Symbols of Inequity’

After Deadly Bronx Fire, Space Heaters Deemed ‘Symbols of Inequity’

New York City officials had flagged busted fire doors before Bronx tower inferno.

New York City experienced its deadliest fire in 30 years this past weekend when a malfunctioning space heater caused a blaze that filled a high-rise Bronx apartment building with thick smoke and killed 19 people.

Trapped residents broke windows for air and stuffed wet towels under doors as smoke rose from a lower-floor apartment where the fire started. Survivors told of fleeing in panic down darkened hallways and stairs, barely able to breathe.

Multiple limp children were seen being given oxygen after they were carried out. Evacuees had faces covered in soot.

Firefighters found victims on every floor, many in cardiac and respiratory arrest, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. Some could not escape because of the volume of smoke, he said.

Some residents said they initially ignored wailing smoke alarms because false alarms were so common in the 120-unit building, built in the early 1970s as affordable housing.

The investigation into all the factors that resulted in this tragedy is continuing. At this point, it appears that the failure of the unit’s self-closing stairwell doors to close was a contributing factor in the death toll. Records indicate that this building has a citation for this issue previously.

Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro singled out malfunctioning self-closing doors during a Monday press conference as a key reason smoke from the flames quickly engulfed much of the 19-story tower in the Twin Parks Northwest complex Sunday, killing at least eight kids and nine adults.

The fire initially erupted in a duplex apartment that spans the second and third floor — and the damage from the flames was confined to that part of the building, according to Nigro.

But Nigro said the failure of the unit’s self-closing door to properly shut allowed the toxic smoke to billow out into the hall. That failure was further compounded as at least one other broken door on higher floors allowed the toxic air to spread.

“The stairwell was very dangerous as the door was left open and some of the floors — certainly on 15 — the door was open from the stairs to the hall and the 15th floor became quite untenable,” he said.

However, social justice advocates never let a tragedy go to waste. It appears the space heater that was the source of the fire is a ‘symbol of inequity‘.

The deadly fire that claimed the lives of 17 people in a high-rise tower in the Bronx is a grim reminder of how space heaters can be a “symbol of inequity,” [Julie Colon, a tenant organizer with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition] said, representing dangerous housing conditions, poor infrastructure, and neglect in lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Many of those displaced in this week’s fire are families originally from Gambia in West Africa.

“The space heater for me is just the scariest thing,” she said.

Space heaters can be used safely. Focusing on “inequity” will not address the reasons the doors were not functioning properly, or all the other facility and procedural issues that created the conditions for the loss of life.


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Is City Hall’s banning of natural gas to heat buildings involved in this? Why would people need space heaters?

    I am in FL. We use a space heater on chilly (to us) mornings in our bathroom because it’s on the north side of the house and has tile floors. It might be on for 15-20 minutes a day for a few weeks in the brutal FL cold. 🙂

    Antifundamentalist in reply to Pasadena Phil. | January 12, 2022 at 11:11 pm

    Who Doesn’t use space heaters? We have central heat and air and still need a space heater every now and then when one space needs to be a little warmer than the rest of the house.

    M Poppins in reply to Pasadena Phil. | January 14, 2022 at 12:00 am

    answer: because in most of the city-built housing, the boilers break constantly and there’s no heat, and even when there is heat, it’s not enough.

I use two space heaters in my bedroom, which features two large windows with metal frames that conduct cold.

Leave it to the idiotic and vile Dhimmi-crats to attempt to exploit every tragedy for their crass political gain, invoking their predictable and tired racial demagoguery and victimhood-posturing.

    alaskabob in reply to guyjones. | January 12, 2022 at 11:15 am

    Using one right now. I guess we’re oppressed by somebody also.

      guyjones in reply to alaskabob. | January 12, 2022 at 11:18 am

      We’re oppressed by Old Man Winter — dude never gives up!

      DaveGinOly in reply to alaskabob. | January 12, 2022 at 1:51 pm

      I was just looking at space heaters at Lowe’s yesterday. Now I feel oppressed. I’m white. Is that OK? (Asking about feeling oppressed, I know being white is not OK.)

        BLSinSC in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 13, 2022 at 4:11 pm

        Fortunately, being white and at risk of being burned alive by a space heater is not only OK, per the libers – it’s EQUITY!! Actually, it’s equitable but for some reason they picked EQUITY and refuse to admit their error! If the libers deem space heaters to be “inequality” and only “oppressed people of color” are at risk then the equitable and humane action would be to not sell space heaters to them! It’s just ANOTHER white man’s scheme to do away with “people of color”! Insidious!!

I also question the news article’s claim that the space heater “malfunctioned.” Most fires that result from space heaters are manifestly the result of careless and improper use by the consumer, e.g., plugging the heater into a power strip (as opposed to directly into a wall outlet), and, leaving flammable materials (e.g., clothing, papers, etc.) too close to the heater.

    artichoke in reply to guyjones. | January 12, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    Yeah, space heaters have about one moving part, the switch. That’s it, a resistive wire that heats up, nothing to malfunction. If there’s a fan, that’s another moving part. There’s nothing to malfunction. It’s the user who malfunctions.

      CaptTee in reply to artichoke. | January 13, 2022 at 8:48 pm

      Space heaters are like guns in the minds of progressives.

      In reality neither guns nor space heaters can harm anyone until a human touches them.

What color was the heater?

Several points:
1. Space heaters can be used safely. However, if left unattended and with insufficient clearance from combustible material that’s a problem.
2. Who’s building is this? Is it a govt property? A property leased by the housing authority?
3. Why did they need a space heater? Was the normal heating system not operating? If not why? Did political considerations come into play?

In the absence of other information I would suggest that the fire code violations weren’t enforced due to political reasons. Condemn the building and they put all those folks out with little to no replacement housing. Was it because a patronage / political influence situation existed?

    artichoke in reply to CommoChief. | January 12, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    NYC has a huge mass of public tenement housing, which by itself is a reasonable way to house those without income. It makes more sense than forcing paying people to be their neighbors via Section 8.

    Needless to say, those buildings need a lot of maintenance.

    I think the residents, many of whom are able bodied, should be required to do such maintenance as a condition of their tenancy. If not, they’re on the street. Residents do the labor work, city supervises and provides skilled trade support. Gosh, residents could even apprentice with those trades, with their rent being their pay, and learn while fixing their own buildings.

      henrybowman in reply to artichoke. | January 12, 2022 at 8:07 pm

      “I think the residents, many of whom are able bodied, should be required to do such maintenance as a condition of their tenancy.”

      A recipe for disaster. If they owned the premises, then the consequences of non-Code jury-rigging would be on their own heads. But they don’t.

      I have had such arrangements with various tenants for over 20 years, when I felt they would be competent at it, and have one at the moment. I have had other tenants whom I have told, “don’t try to fix anything yourself, call me.” One of those burned down one of my units (and three of his own dogs) by getting drunk after a messy marital breakup and smoking in bed. It had gotten so difficult to find responsible, competent, solvent tenants for that unit that I had the slab cleared and pocketed the rest of the insurance payout.

        CommoChief in reply to henrybowman. | January 12, 2022 at 9:23 pm

        Same. Sold my rentals in Feb 2020 when I saw the eviction moratorium on the horizon. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. No more late rents or damage to bother with. Much happier to have pulled the trigger and booked the profits.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to artichoke. | January 12, 2022 at 10:10 pm

      Even were it not the potential disaster pointed out by Mr. Bowman below, you would never get such a proposal past the labor unions.

    pst314 in reply to CommoChief. | January 12, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    The building is 50 years old, so it has less insulation than current construction. What’s more, it must have been designed (and maybe completed) before the Arab Oil Crisis sent fuel prices through the roof and led to greater worry about heating costs.
    Also: Buildings from the 70’s and earlier often had poorly insulated windows, meaning heat loss. And without careful maintenance those windows will become drafty due to the caulk aging, the sliding window panes no longer sealing tightly, and so on.

      CommoChief in reply to pst314. | January 12, 2022 at 9:18 pm

      I won’t dispute any of that information. My question would then be why no upgrades? At the least why no maintenance?

      The answer is likely because no incentive exists to do so as a result of the horribly distorted housing market in NYC. Public housing almost always reverts to a tragedy of the commons situation. This is magnified by rent control laws and burdensome regulations that limit housing availability in the private sector.

        pst314 in reply to CommoChief. | January 12, 2022 at 9:35 pm

        I agree with you about the distorted housing market in NYC, and about the inherent problems of welfare housing. Maintenance and upgrades get delayed, and things get worse.

    BLSinSC in reply to CommoChief. | January 13, 2022 at 4:14 pm

    I’m sure if it was one of Trump Enterprises buildings we would have known by now and charges would already have been filed for negligent homicide or first degree murder!

    M Poppins in reply to CommoChief. | January 14, 2022 at 12:05 am

    kind of silly questions – it’s low income housing built by state or city and sold to a company run by Democrat cronies. There’s virtually no maintenance of any kind; nothing works; the buildings are a shambles. Never enough heat.

The Gentle Grizzly | January 12, 2022 at 11:41 am

Another sign of inequiity:people so stupid that they wedge fire doors open. Even further, smoking in the stairwells. That is what I call real inaquity.

I have one of those oil filled space heaters that has no fan. I guess that way my oppression is silent. Or is it institutional? I always get that mixed up. That in itself is an inequity.

I something.

    Kamala Harris on oil heaters: “Oil heaters contribute to global warming. All heaters should be electric.”


    Fire doors wedged open? No. The linked article says that several fire doors failed to close completely because the automatic door closing mechanisms were out of adjustment or worn out due to aging.
    Smoking in stairwells? No. Smoke from the fire entered the stairwells and spread to the rest of the building.

    henrybowman in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | January 12, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    They are superior, but people living on government handouts are going to buy the most cheapshit heaters they can find at Dollar General. If it weren’t for the smoke, I’m sure there would be people heating rooms with wastebasket fires.

I’m sure there are people here who have worked in office buildings with drafty windows and space heaters were on or underneath desks.

Look, I get that there were serious code issues with that building but space heaters are used by people at all sorts of income levels.

If I’m sitting on the couch and it’s a bit chilly in the room, why should I turn up the main heat if I can use a tabletop space heater?

Just a thought: Given the age of the building, if the heater was plugged into the wall and the socket was loose the electrical cord would have gotten hot.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to p. | January 12, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    When I work computer tech support, it was an endless battle between us support people and the people plug in space heaters in to the outlet strip that their computer was plugged into. The heater with kick him the voltage drop at the computer with crash. Space heaters were band, but there were certain people but insisted on having them regardless.

Folks use space heaters all the time. Would Ms. Colon have them build fires in their apartments, or use their stove? There is no inequity here.

Use of space heaters is the result of colonial oppression.

If that darn Global Warming would hurry up, these poor oppressed people wouldn’t need their space heaters.

People who fight Global Warming LITERALLY killed these oppressed people!


It’s actually temperature that’s the problem. Temperature is a white thing. And don’t let entropy off the hook either. Temperature is the derivative of internal energy with respect to entropy.

Also if fire is involved, phlogiston (the cause of fire) needs to be blamed. It’s like structural racism.

The fire doors were propped open.

Low income housing houses a lot of low-responsibility people. Whoever propped open the fire doors should be prosecuted. Though they’d then plead getting the Hillary Clinton treatment.

    We treat these residents like children, taking all the responsibility from them. If the fire doors were propped open, it’s some failure of our supervision!?

    I say, put them in charge. Let them document, let them citizen’s arrest, let them rat each other out. If it fails, they lose their homes when there’s a fire. I have to take care of my own house, and that’s even after I paid for it! They’re likely getting these places free, the least we can do is give them enough motivation to get them to do the work of watching out for their home.

      Antifundamentalist in reply to artichoke. | January 12, 2022 at 11:19 pm

      Buildings built in the 70’s likely were not designed with fire doors or central heating and air. Those things would have been added later, and because of that the airflow in the building would never have been quite right.

        the apartments have radiators

        {citation needed]
        I believe that New York required fire doors in new construction at least as early as the 1960’s.
        Furthermore, central heating has been standard in New York apartment buildings (and in all other northern states) since almost forever. I can quote people who rented apartments in buildings that were built in the late 1800’s: Steam-heat radiators fed from basement boilers.

      M Poppins in reply to artichoke. | January 14, 2022 at 12:10 am

      not exactly free. They get Section 8 vouchers and then have to pay 20% of their income as rent

    Propped open? When have you read that?
    The linked articles say that the fire doors failed to close automatically.
    This is nearly always because the automatic door closer gets out of adjustment. They need to be adjusted now and then, and after 10-20 years they cannot be adjusted and must be replaced.

The “inequity” which they are trying to conflate with “inequality” doesn’t even begin to apply here. The “inequality” that caused this fire is that the schools in these neighborhoods are so bad they churn out adults that are too stupid to safely use space heaters. I also wonder if the outrageous cost of heating oil is causing the less fortunate to find cheaper sources of heat. I’m a Floridian, so I know almost nothing about heating oil. But I do know how to use a space heater without burning my house down.

    artichoke in reply to BrianD. | January 12, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    Many of them are not too stupid. It’s laziness, and the assumption that it’s someone else’s responsibility. Empower them to enforce the rules, with the understanding that if there’s a fire, it’ll be their problem to find new accommodation.

    pst314 in reply to BrianD. | January 12, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    The cost of heating oil should not be relevant, as residents would not be paying for individual heat: The building must have central heating.

      M Poppins in reply to pst314. | January 14, 2022 at 12:14 am

      the apartments have radiators, but often not enough heat is generated. Often buildings don’t turn on the boilers in the day.

        pst314 in reply to M Poppins. | January 14, 2022 at 8:37 am

        Ah, I was responding to the previous comment as if it meant that each apartment had its own heating system and the residents were responsible for purchasing their own heating oil. I definitely agree with you that the building owners (be they New York or private operators) will skim on costs whenever they can.

Comanche Voter | January 12, 2022 at 4:36 pm

White privilege keeps people of color shivering in the dark. Or so I am told.
OTOH I live in supposedly temperate Southern California. And on winter nights when working in my unheated garage, I use a space heater aimed at my feet. I guess that makes me a POC.

    henrybowman in reply to Comanche Voter. | January 12, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    Just maintained my 33-yo, 5″-cube heater two weeks ago, for the first time since we got it. Opened it up, removed all the accumulated lint and cobwebs, drop of oil on the fan motor bearing. When we travel, it keeps our RV comfy on the park’s dime instead of paying for propane.

    It’s so old, it doesn’t have a tipover switch. Then again, we were raised in houses without GFCI, sprayed our yards with DDT, pushed lawn mowers without deadman switches, and drove cars with no seat belts (don’t even get me started on airbags, ABS, and OnStar).

    Where’s my equity? In my head and my habits. I earned all of it.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to henrybowman. | January 12, 2022 at 10:24 pm

      SOME improvements and safety items are actually good ideas. Even intelligent people can accidentally knock over a heater, so the safety switch is a good idea.

      Even intelligent people hastily stick a fork or knife into a jammed toaster without pulling the plug out. So, the two-pole switch is a good idea.

      As for OnStar: don’t activate it.

Victor Immature | January 12, 2022 at 4:42 pm

I don’t know how to tie this in to “equity”, but where do you suppose the space heater was manufactured ?

and today I used an 80K btu kero salamander to clear a gelled diesel fuel filter so I could snowblow my road for others.
guess there is a lot if inequity there. mainly in 22 years I’ve never made a cent off this road.
fk this person.

I have a space heater running right now in my office, blowing warm air behind my desk. I am considered white, but the heater is black — so a black appliance working as a slave to a white man!

I am also a professional, so why do I need a space heater? Because thanks to Covid and the change in my office staffing (I am now alone in the office), there is no need to heat the entire 1,000 square foot office as warm as I like my “behind the desk” space to be. Conserving energy.

But I am considered to be white, so it is obviously racist. Structural racism. Whatever “it” might be. And whatever “structural racism” might be.

Everyone should have the same everything. It’s only fair.

    henrybowman in reply to allenb611. | January 12, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    Dibs on Jay Leno’s cars.

      Heh, Henry, you know how communism works: they take Leno’s cars, issue you and Leno a barely functional bicycle and put you ont he ten-year waitlist for a commie-made piece of crap cart that may or may not start.

      This is the beauty of communism. The state seizes everything worth having and lets its people wait ten years for a commie-made car that won’t run, an apartment without heat (or AC, NO commie subjects get AC! You can bribe commie officials for heat, though, they take cash and sex), and the privilege of standing on line for ten hours to buy a loaf of bread for a wheelbarrow full of cash.

      The difference between “equality” and “equity” couldn’t be more clear than in the dibs of Leno’s cars. 😛

    isfoss in reply to allenb611. | January 13, 2022 at 9:42 am

    Have we heard from AOC about this?

From the Daily Mail: “Officials believe the fire spread so rapidly because Mr Wague left his apartment door open as he fled for his life with his kids.”

The average IQ of people in “public housing” is probably low enough that such a foolish act is unsurprising.

Nothing about residents propping open stairwell fire doors.

Help! Help! I’m being oppressed by my Black & Decker indoor personal ceramic heater. With any luck soon I’ll be oppressed by my 18,000 BTU Mr. Heater Big Buddy Indoor/Outdoor Propane Heater.

Oh, the in


Was it really space heaters or were these idiots using a charcoal grill indoors? Now that will kill you just through the carbon monoxide. I’ll never forget the time my squadron had a Sailor killed in Turkey by carbon monoxide poisoning.

What made it memorable, outside of the fact he died and ruined my weekend, was he wasn’t supposed to even be in Turkey visiting what we later learnes was his girlfriend. Everybody, not just the enlisted but officers as well, had to say where they could be reached just in case the balloon went up. And that wasn’t where he said he was going to be.

Squadron Duty Officer (SDO) duty on the weekends was supposed to be uneventful. This guy offs himself and pops my cherry on OPREP 3 reporting. Not only does he ruin my day, which should have involved a jacuzzi and my girlfriend, but I have to call in the Skipper, XO, and Ops O.

Maybe I should be grateful. After that I was a freaking wizard when it came to writing OPREP 3 Navy Blues and Pinnacles. Naw, on second thought, not really. Although there were bright spots. Apparently the black guys on the Blue Ridge and Kitty Hawk had something of a gang rivalry. One guy saw some stranger talking to a Japanese chick he thought was his girlfriend and beat the s*** out of him thinking he was a black Sailor from the rival ship.

Turns out he was the son of the ambassador of the West African country Guinea. Which is a big no no. So, the cops show up and are questioning the perp when his shipmate in a show of solidarity decides to try to beat down a Tokyo police lieutenant.–japan.jpg

See that big stick the Japanese cop is carrying? He has the Aikido and Kendo skills to use it. Second big no no. After they beat the crap out of the guy they discover he has a small bag of heroin tucked into his sock.

Did he really? I don’t know. But to mix my country-centric folksisms horribly, as the Irish say you don’t beat the local horse at the county fair. In any case, Japanese cops really didn’t want to deal with American Sailors and Marines at the time even after those Marines and Sailors raped that girl on Okinawa. They prefered we handled it in house. But when Sailors jump the son of an ambassodor and then jump a police lieutenant, things are out of our hands.

So we’re listening to the phone call through our captain’s comments. “So, is that when they found the heroin?” And we’re rolling on the floor laughing. Even while I’m reaching for the report writing manual tears of laughter are rolling down my cheeks.

There are just some people you can’t reach. Like the Sailors port visit Sasebo wanting to get off the ship with a ‘Nuke ’em til they glow, then bomb ’em in the dark” T shirt. I understood the sentiment. My screen saver was Helldivers over the IJN carrier Hiryu. But, not helpful, guys, on a show-the-flag-friendship mission. Change your shirt.

I’m not being very sympathetic am I? But you’re with your girlfriend. Throw on an extra blanket (the guy was getting a steady paycheck; if he could afford a ticket to Istanbul he could have afforded a blanket) and try spooning.

It may seem I went a little off track. But I admit to being prejudiced. Not against a particular race. But women who proclaim to be mothers who show up at the hearings when the judge is going to decide if their Section 8 housing is going to be revoked. Talking in the anteroom on their cell phones, their nails done, their hair done, but how dare WE the taxpayers ask them to contribute $10/month for a roof over their heads.

I’ve done the equivalent of a police ride along relevent to these issues. I have opinions.

99.44/100% of the time it is the PEOPLE not using the heaters properly. I had to constantly make my mother cut hers back over the years for HAVE IT almost burn the house down SEVERAL TIMES! When I sold heaters in a hardware store, I told people all the time …FEEL the cord, IF IT IS HOT CUT it back.

You know, you’ve got to hand it to these SJW, who, like cockroaches, are there in the woodwork, ready to crawl out and attack literally anything and everything as a symbol of inequity, at a moments notice!! There is no end to their insanity and pathological idiocy.

Oh, the inequity. They wasted no time on that.

I’ve got two space heaters at home and one at work. Glad to know that’s all it takes to join the ranks of the oppressed. FINALLY, MY DAY HAS COME!

We have space heaters and we’re allegedly benefactors of white privilege.

The fire was definitely not started by a space heater. A Christmas tree caught fire in an elevator. The fire department thinks kids lit it on fire with matches.

Sitting at my desk in my office with my space heater….feels so cozy