Stamford developer BLT did not call 911 after partial terrace collapse at Allure in Harbor Point, city officials say


STAMFORD — On the day part of a terrace collapsed in the Allure skyscraper, developer Building and Land Technology never called for emergency help.

In fact, by the time Stamford firefighters discovered the partial collapse — in a call that appeared to be about a blocked entrance — BLT already had engineers in place to repair the damage, according to city public safety officials.

“It almost seems like they were more concerned with solving the problem and possibly covering it up than following proper procedure,” Board Chairman Jeff Curtis, D-14, said at a Thursday meeting of the security committee. public in the city where the information was revealed. .

BLT spokesman Rob Blanchard refuted Curtis in a statement, saying that once BLT’s property was alerted to the incident, it chose to assess the site with its engineers.

“BLT’s property was immediately notified of the incident and deployed to the site with our team as well as contractors and engineers,” Blanchard told the Stamford Advocate. “The site has been secured and secured, the city has been notified, and we have worked proactively with the city to inspect both the Allure and our other buildings.”

Blanchard went on to say that “it was collectively discussed and determined after inspecting the scene that the situation was not life threatening, no one was injured and the building was deemed safe to occupy, and that there was no need for additional emergency resources. or evacuation.

Damage to the fifth floor on Feb. 1, which temporarily left parts of the parking garage and building amenity spaces below the terrace unusable, left city officials undivided on where blame should be focused. : on BLT for not calling 911. No one was injured, and there was no damage to personal property at Allure, which is one of BLT’s Harbor Point high-rise buildings.

However, presentations by Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski and members of the city’s fire department sparked a resentful back-and-forth between fire department representatives and some council members who argued that officials public safety should have reacted differently to an event that prompted a months-long investigation from the city.

“The response from the third largest fire department in the state of Connecticut is unacceptable to me, as this is a situation in which many people could have been injured,” said Rep. Nina Sherwood, D. -8, during hours. -long discussion on Allure. “And we haven’t even deployed emergency vehicles.”

Jankowksi said Allure’s partial collapse likely occurred at 1:10 p.m. on Feb. 1, nearly four hours before emergency responders were on site.

Neither a BLT employee nor a resident called with an emergency complaint. Information obtained by The Stamford Advocate shows that Allure management sent an email to residents of the building explaining that part of the fifth floor outdoor terrace had collapsed at 2.55pm.

The fire department received a complaint from a resident’s mother inquiring about the “ruined” patio at 3:22 p.m., according to the city memo. Around that time, a reporter — identified by Jankowski on Thursday as being from News 12 — asked the 911 dispatch center if public safety officials had responded to a partial collapse at a garage.

A March 1 memo from Mayor Caroline Simmons to Chairman of the Board Jeff Curtis says fire department headquarters received a message from “an acquaintance of an occupant of 850 Pacific Street for a ruined ceiling and a blocked exit there”. This was the first official report received regarding the incident.

The official city timeline puts Deputy Chiefs Miguel Robles, Robert Morris and Fire Marshal Walter Seely at the scene at 3:55 p.m., records show.

When Robles, Morris and Seely arrived on site, BLT engineers were already present, propping up the collapsed area and fencing it off. The company that maintains BLT’s fire alarms was also present, repairing the alarms.

Robles told representatives that when his team arrived, he asked the engineers present a question: “Can someone assure me that nothing else is going to collapse here?”

Engineers assured the fire department team that the property was stable and that it was the only part of the building with this type of construction.

“We went there; we inspected it; we looked at it,” Robles said. “He looked secure, he was propped up from below…We thought he was secure, he wasn’t going to move anywhere. There was no other danger, an immediate danger, which would require the intervention of the fire brigade.

Sherwood replied, “We should have been the ones consolidating the situation, not a private entity.”

“If 911 had been called when this happened, you would have had that response,” Robles said. “That’s what would have happened. But it didn’t come to us as a meltdown.

The fire department’s automated system reportedly dispatched three different fire companies as well as an EMS unit and an ‘incident safety officer,’ according to documents read by Rep. Jeffrey Stella, D-9, during Of the reunion.

But the three men reacted to the situation as a violation of the Life Safety Code, which Fire Chief Trevor Roach called Friday morning the “proactive side” of what the department does.

“The safety code governs the features of the building that make it safe for people in an emergency,” Roach told the attorney. They run the gamut from broken sprinklers and fire detectors to blocked exits, as the report does on Allure. Because a caller alerted firefighters to a blocked exit, the response did not trigger emergency units on the scene, he said.

When Sherwood argued that “an agent of the owner” should be trusted rather than looking at the situation first hand, Robles argued that the situation required no further emergency action; Jankowski backed him up.

“If you’re alluding to the fact that if a rescue company was there something would have been different, I disagree,” he said.

Jankowski said all bases were covered by on-site engineers and that sending more personnel to the scene could have strained the department’s resources.

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