WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Ritchie Torres (NY-15) and Yvette Clarke (NY-09), and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), introduced federal legislation aimed at addressing underlying manufacturing issues and safety concerns surrounding space heaters.
The “Safer Heat Act of 2023” would require space heaters to have an automatic shutoff device and would require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish mandatory safety standards for the manufacturing of space heaters. It is a direct response to the horrific Twin Parks North West apartment fire that claimed the lives of 17 New Yorkers in January 2022.
Reps. Torres and Clarke previously worked together to introduce this bill last Congress as part of a larger federal legislative package aimed at preventing future tragedies.
“Last year’s tragic fire at Twin Parks North West underscores the fact that we must continue to fight for federal action to ensure tenants have safe homes and living conditions no matter their zip code,” said Rep. Torres. “Currently, what the law requires of space heaters often falls too short of what people need to keep warm and often they’re a person’s last resort out of sheer desperation to fight bitter cold. I’m proud to once again partner with Rep. Clarke to address longstanding deficiencies in the way space heaters are made in order to hopefully save lives and prevent other communities from devastation.”
“It was little more than a year ago that the fire at Twin Parks North West shook our city and forever changed countless lives. This heartbreaking incident, like so many others, was an entirely preventable tragedy,” said Rep. Clarke. “Our Safer Heat Act will make certain that common-sense safety standards are more than a recommendation for manufactures, but a requirement, so New York families and communities never again have to fear these avoidable dangers.”
“Common sense safety standards for space heaters will prevent fires and save lives,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “Portable electric heaters are essential for many families during the cold winter months, but the lack of proper safeguards increases the risk of these devices overheating and tipping over – often with deadly consequences. By implementing automatic turn-off features and allowing the CPSC to strengthen safety regulations, our legislation takes important steps to protect consumers from these preventable tragedies.”
“We are still mourning the seventeen lives tragically lost in the deadliest fire in New York City in thirty years,” said Leader Schumer. “The federal government should always work to protect innocent people from unsafe products, which is why I am proud to cosponsor the Safer Heat Act to help prevent future tragedies like the Bronx fire.”