Earlier this week, fire erupted at the former Alexander Smith carpet factory in Yonkers, New York. Multiple floors at the YOHO artist’s community were engulfed and the fire quickly escalated to a general alarm, with every on-duty firefighter in the city called in to help. The blaze started at 4:00 a.m. and by the time the fire was under control at approximately 8:45 a.m., a total of 80 firefighters from 18 companies were on the scene.
This fire, though not deadly, comes just two months after a fire in an Oakland warehouse used as an arts collective killed 36 people. The tragedy highlighted the importance of the adoption and implementation of fire codes, as discussed by NFPA President Jim Pauley in an interview with the New York Times.
Luckily, the Yonkers fire occurred at a time when nobody was in the building, but it serves as another disturbing reminder of an alarming recent trend in building fires, and the importance of building codes like NFPA 1, the Fire Code.
The Yonkers building dates back to the late 19th century, and was home to a carpet factory until 1954. The building is now home to artists’ work lofts and other businesses. According to Yonkers Fire Commissioner Robert Sweeney, the fire seemed suspicious partly because it occurred at a time when no one was expected in the building. Also, it seemed to be contained in just one corner of the large structure. Arson has not been ruled out as the investigation is ongoing.