Expert says Philly fire escape law not being followed

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 This 2014 file photo shows a fourth-floor fire escape landing in Rittenhouse which collapsed with three people standing on it, killing one. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

This 2014 file photo shows a fourth-floor fire escape landing in Rittenhouse which collapsed with three people standing on it, killing one. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

A deadline is rapidly approaching for inspecting every fire escape in Philadelphia.  

The requirement took effect this year, but grew out of a fatal 2014 accident.

July 1st is the deadline for every property owner who has an exterior fire escape to get them inspected.  

Francisco Meneses is founder of the National Fire Escape Association and a specialist in testing and repair.  He says there is no way all the fire escapes in the city can be properly tested in time to make the deadline.

“We would have gotten calls people looking for these things to get done and I haven’t gotten a call or reviewed anybody else’s report because we would have gotten a copy of the report saying, hey how much to fix this fire escape,” he said.

Councilman Curtis Jones says he’s concerned that the inspections aren’t being done and is thinking about another bill to make those who fail to have the inspections done face tougher penalties.

“We’re going to do stronger enforcement and those penalties on the books, we will apply,” Jones said.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections says it does not have an accurate count of the outdoor fire escapes in Philadelphia but has a form on its website where people can report them.

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