National Fire Sprinkler Association Responds on Fatal Fire in New York City High-Rise

Wednesday, 25. November 2020 22:30

New York, NY, Nov. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) finds itself reporting on yet another high-rise fire in less than a week. Just last Friday, November 20th, fire erupted at The Gateway Apartments in San Francisco's Financial District. The three-alarm blaze, which started on the 11th floor, led to five injuries, 23 units damaged, and numerous residents displaced. On Sunday, November 22nd, a fire in a New York City high-rise resulted in the death of a mother and daughter, ages 73 and 37. The fire began just after midnight in their apartment on the 24th floor of a 32-story unsprinklered apartment building. Built in 1964, the building is not equipped with a fire sprinkler system. After firefighters put out the flames, emergency services transported the women to hospitals for smoke inhalation. Both were pronounced dead a short time later. 

“While the statistics of past recent years may indicate 40 people die annually in high-rise fires, I believe it is currently much more than that,” explained NFSA President Shane Ray. “We know of fires from Hawaii to San Francisco and now New York City. We know how to prevent this and public policy can be changed that will save citizens and firefighters lives.” 

Tony Saporito, Executive Vice President of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York’s Fire Sprinkler Council adds, “Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time and undo the tragic deaths of  Warnette and Malaika James, however, we can honor them by urging our legislators to revisit our current existing building code requirements in the hopes of protecting all New York residents who live in apartment buildings built prior to 1999.”   

During this holiday season, and in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, fires continue to needlessly take lives. Our hope is that New York policy makers will seriously consider retrofit options for the large number of residential buildings that exist within the city.  Current federal legislation is making its way through Congress following a tragic Minneapolis, MN fire last year. For updates on all available fire sprinkler incentives, please visit and please reach out if you have questions. 

About the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA): NFSA was founded in 1905 and wants to create a more fire safe world, and works to heighten the awareness of the importance of fire sprinkler systems from homes to high-rise and all occupancies in between. The Association is an inclusive organization made up of dedicated and committed members of a progressive life-saving industry. This industry manufactures, designs, supplies, installs, inspects, and services the world’s most effective system in saving lives and property from uncontrolled structural fires.  

For more information about fire sprinklers, how they work and access to additional resources and information, visit for the latest material, statistics and a dedicated team of fire safety advocates ready to serve all stakeholders in order to fulfill the vision of a safer world. 

Vickie Pritchett
National Fire Sprinkler Association
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