Rep. Torres’s Bipartisan “Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act” Passes the House

May 11, 2022
Press
Public Safety

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sophie Pollock

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11), Rep. Peter Meijer (MI-3), and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s (OH-16) bipartisan federal fire legislation “Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act(H.R. 7077) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 379-37. The bill comes in response to the Twin Parks North West apartment building fire that took the lives of 17 New Yorkers in January 2022. This legislation permits the United States Fire Administration (USFA) to assist local firefighter investigators after a major fire and is part of a federal legislative package to solve the underlying issues that caused the fire and to prevent future tragedies.

The legislation authorizes the USFA to send safety specialists, fire protection engineers, codes and standards experts, researchers, and fire training specialists to collaborate and assist local firefighter investigators in their investigation. The bill also requires the USFA to issue a report in coordination with federal, state, and local authorities on their findings and to provide recommendations to federal, state, and local officials to implement to prevent similar fires from occurring in the future.

“In the four months following the horrific fire at Twin Parks North West, we continue to grieve the loss of 17 New Yorkers whose lives were taken in this tragedy and honor them with swift legislative action,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “Fires like the one at Twin Parks North West are not isolated incidents and it is past time for the federal government to sit ideally by. I am proud that the House of Representatives voted to push this bipartisan legislation one step closer to becoming federal law. The Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act enables USFA collaboration to better support fire investigations and procedures to prevent devastating fires like the one in my district from occurring again. This is the first step of many to ensure everyone, no matter their zip code, is protected from deadly fires.”

“The tragedy at Twin Parks North West in the Bronx was one of the worst fires our city has ever seen, claiming 17 lives, and seriously injuring dozens of residents,” said Acting NY Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “Through investigations and education, we can prevent future tragedies. Knowing that our Firefighters and Fire Marshals have the full support of the federal government, and the U.S. Fire Administration is a tremendous asset to the FDNY and the millions of New Yorkers we serve. I want to thank Representative Torres and his fellow committee members for their support of the FDNY.”

“I thank the House for passing H.R. 7077, the Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act. This legislation will play an important role in identifying the cause of fires that result in the major loss of life and property. We can learn from these fires to prevent future tragedies. I thank Representatives Torres, Stevens, Meijer, and Gonzalez for their leadership in drafting this legislation,” said Chief Kenneth W. Stuebing, BHSc, CCP(f), President and Board Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “We will work to pass this bill in the Senate this year.”

“The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) applauds the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 7077, the Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act,” said NASFM Executive Director Jim Narva, “Through increased fire investigations and education we can determine the underlying issues and provide necessary resources to prevent future tragedies along with saving countless lives. NASFM encourages the Senate to pass, and President Biden to sign this legislation into law as soon as possible.”

The “Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act” (HR 7077) joins a broader fire safety legislative package introduced by Rep. Torres in the House of Representatives. The package includes:

  • HR 6615: requires a universal safety standard for space heaters,
  • HR 6529: requires all federally funded rental residential buildings to have self-closing doors,
  • HR 6528: requires all federally funded rental residential buildings to have heat sensors.

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