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Push On To Bring NYC Under Uniform Fire Codes

Fire burns at the Deutsche Bank Building in Lower Manhattan - Aug 18, 2007 (credit: NICHOLAS ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)

Fire burns at the Deutsche Bank Building in Lower Manhattan – Aug 18, 2007 (credit: NICHOLAS ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - If you think every building in New York City is held to the same fire standards, you’d be wrong.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Story

That was a lesson painfully learned in the fatal Deutsche Bank Building fire in August of 2007.

When the fire broke out, fire department had no idea what was happening there.

“There was no safety inspections in that building for 18 months,” Joseph Graffagnino, Sr. told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

He said that was because state buildings are not subject to the city fire code. The building was owned by the state.

He said that needs to change.

Two firefighters were killed in that blaze, including Graffagnino’s 33-year-old son Joseph Graffagnino, Jr. Also killed was 53-year-old firefighter Robert Beddia.

“Today… you know, Joey would be alive to play with his children,” Graffagnino, Sr. told Haskell.

A joint city-state task force is recommending every building in the city be covered by local building and fire codes.

“These are the gold standards in the world,” said St. Sen. Daniel Squadron.

He feels the hold up is bureaucracy.

“We must do everything possible to protect our first responders when they’re out there protecting us. Every day we don’t act means another day in which the lives of our first responders and the public may be at risk,” said Squadron. “The Task Force’s recommendations will be a big step toward closing these major gaps in our code, and they must be implemented now, as a step toward getting all these buildings under the City code.”

“The State-City Task Force has acknowledged serious safety problems that need to be corrected. However, it is distressing that these problems persist more than a decade after 9/11,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Assembly sponsor of the bill that created the Task Force. “The Task Force recommendations should be adopted and implemented as quickly as possible. But we need to go further and give New York City building and fire code jurisdiction over State buildings within the five boroughs.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office hasn’t responded to questions about whether he supports the change.