Friday, December 9, 2016


  I wanted to speak for a couple of minutes about the tragedy our city experienced yesterday in the Bronx. And I visited the apartment where the two children passed away – Ibanez and Scylee – two-year-old and one-year-old – and it is very painful to see that. My heart goes out to this family – to the parents who have lost their two children. I can only imagine that pain. Two beautiful children – there were photos on the walls; drawings on the wall. It was a very – clearly a warm, and loving household, there is no question about that.

And the loss that we all feel here – I was with the precinct commander and some of the detectives from the precinct – everyone felt the sort of [inaudible] silence looking at this room  and sensing the loss that this family had experienced. And it was really hard to talk about. And I have to tell you, there’s going to be a very full investigation – rigorous investigation to figure out what happened here. NYPD is doing an investigation – of course, the Department of Homeless Services and our Housing Department – HPD – are investigating as well.

But what we know so far suggests an extraordinary an unprecedented accident – something that we – no one that I have talked to so far in any agency has ever seen anything like this. Steve Banks, who has so much history – for 30 years worked with the homeless and [inaudible] leading experts on building [inaudible] for New York City – no one has ever seen anything like this. And we need to understand what happened here. We do not see any precedent in anything that has happened before. This was a freak accident, a series of painful coincidences that led to the loss of these children. HPD went through the building and the adjoining building. They apparently have an adjoined boiler system – went through, went to every apartment last night, did not find anything [inaudible]. They restored the heat as a result. There were no specific complaints that we knew of that would have indicated anything like this. There had been an inspection of this apartment last month. We are trying to put the pieces together, but so far cannot understand how something like this could happen.

 I think a very natural question – should New Yorkers be concerned about their radiators? What I can tell you is, again, we have no history of something like this specific incident. We will – if there is anything we learn from the investigation we are going to make it the public immediately, obviously, that would tell people to take a precaution, but so far just appears to be an extraordinarily unusual and particular incident – but horribly, horribly tragic.

  The valve that every radiator has – something happened with that valve. We do not know if it was something wrong with the manufacturer of that unit. We do not know if it was altered in some way. Something unusual was going on. That’s what we have to figure out, but somehow the valve – even though it was a low pressure system. I just talked to deputy commissioner [inaudible] who was there himself and again is an expert on repairs in apartment buildings – the low pressure system – the boiler was in another building, there was nothing that indicated the valve coming off, but apparently somehow it came off and steam came out in an extraordinary quantity. We don’t know how or why. It has nothing to do with the rest of the surface of the radiator. It’s just the valve.

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