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Sources: FDNY Concerned Zuccotti Park Turning Into Firetrap

'Occupy Wall Street' Uses Gas-Powered Generators, But Lacks Extinguishers
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Occupy Wall Street fire concerns

Occupy Wall Street protesters use gas-powered generators. The FDNY is concerned if a fire starts, saying the current setup in Zuccotti Park could be a recipe for disaster. (Photo: CBS 2)

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A native New Yorker, Lou Young joined CBS 2 in June 1994. He has...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a growing cause for concern down at Zuccotti Park. Sources told CBS 2 on Monday night the FDNY is looking into possible fire hazard situations that could put protesters at risk.

Fire prevention experts at the Department notified the Mayor’s Office of the potential problem. There are apparently lots of ways for a fire to start and not enough planning about how to put one out. It’s a concern that could impact the future of this encampment.

The “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators make their own power with gasoline driven generators and that’s the problem, according to our sources at the FDNY.

The presence of gas and other flammable liquids they’ve discovered at Zuccotti Park has some in the Department worried that a smoker’s stray spark could lead to disaster.

Protesters have already been ordered to avoid open flames, even when serving food.

“No open flames. No, everything is cooked off-site and brought in,” one protester said.

Dishwater is brought in already heated, and even the Halloween Jack-o-lanterns have battery-operated lights. The approach of cold weather, though, has some wondering what happens next.

“I thought about what’s going to happen when it gets cold enough that we really have to have fire,” Tara Angell of Carroll Gardens said.

“To say that we aren’t responsible enough to be able to manage a simple butane fire would be deceitful,” one protester said.

The Fire Department thinks the issue becomes more of a problem as the tents return to the park and it becomes more difficult to see inside. The demonstration’s loose organizational structure is trying to set up security patrols to head off the city’s growing concern.

“We’re trying to get fire extinguishers in here. We’re trying to establish a fire brigade. We’d like to create a team of fire brigade members in here and fire watchers and in the event that we do show open flame in here we can talk to the people and have it eliminated as quickly as possible,” said Paul Isaac of Flatbush.

Young’s inspection of the park Monday night revealed no visible fire extinguishers. Asked if the concerns might prompt activities here to be curtailed the Mayor’s Office offered only a “no comment.”

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