In the wake of last December’s deadly Bronx fire, new laws will require safety devices on stoves in apartments with small children under six years old

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Council Member Ritchie Torres today announced the implementation of new fire safety and prevention laws designed to prevent catastrophic fires like the December 2017 tragic fire in the Belmont section of The Bronx, which saw 13 lives lost.

The laws will require owners of buildings with three or more units to provide and properly install approved stove knob safety covers on all stoves in units where a child or children 6 years or younger reside.

In December 2017, a fire in a residential building on Prospect Avenue in The Bronx led to 13 deaths, making it the deadliest fire New York City had seen in the past 25 years. Investigators found that the fire was started by a three-year-old child playing with the stove in his apartment, and quickly grew out of control.

“Just as we require window guards in apartments with young children, we should also require that stoves be made safer through the installation of approved safety devices,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This tragic fire could have been prevented, had this young child been unable to tamper with the knob of the stove in his apartment. I am proud to partner with Council Member Torres to introduce legislation that will undoubtedly save lives.”

“Stove knob covers are a simple and effective tool that prevent deadly fires and the loss of life. Through education and outreach about fire safety, residents will be better equipped to respond to fires and prevent future catastrophes,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

The law would also require that other tenants in buildings with three or more units would have the option to request approved stove safety devices for stoves, and that such requests could not be denied.

In addition, the New York City Fire Department and the Department of Education, will create and implement a comprehensive plan for educating both children and parents about fire safety and fire prevention. The proposed education plan will include but not be limited to teaching children the dangers of playing with burners on stoves. The legislation would also require the DOE and the FDNY to report to the City Council on efforts to educate children about fire prevention and fire safety.

CAPTION: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at a press conference on December 4, 2018, announcing the implementation of new the implementation of new fire safety and prevention laws designed to prevent catastrophic fires. Borough President Diaz is holding a package of stove knob covers. Download the photo at