Police say cannabis grow lamp caused deadly New York apartment building fire

The cause of a deadly five-alarm fire in Yonkers, New York, is linked to cannabis-growing equipment found in an apartment in the building, police said Friday.

What happened:Five alarm fire The blaze occurred at about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday at the 95-unit complex on Bronx River Road in Westchester County, north of New York City near the New York and New Jersey state line.

Yonkers first responders, including firefighters, police and EMS, began evacuating residents and extinguishing the fire, which had reached the roof. Dozens of firefighters and several residents suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Cannabis Grow Light

Arson investigators determined that the probable cause and origin of the fire was an electric heating lamp that was being used to cultivate six marijuana plants that a resident was growing for personal use. WNYC reported that the lamp was hanging on a hook above a small cannabis plant but broke, sparking the floor and starting a fire in the first-floor apartment.

Investigators said that once the resident discovered the fire, he raised the alarm and alerted his neighbors.

Yonkers Police Commissioner Chris Sapienza said, “The tragedy of this incident is made worse by how avoidable it was.” “We have seen firsthand how dangerous these high-powered devices can be, and without regulations or guidelines to protect the public, people are being unnecessarily put at risk – marijuana laws need to be fixed. , whether it’s farming or smoke shops; our communities demand it.”

NY Office of Cannabis Management City officials said it has not yet issued regulations governing the home cultivation of cannabis, meaning it is not legal.

About 65 people were sheltered at a local community center north of the fire site with the assistance of the Office of Emergency Management. Fire departments from other jurisdictions provided assistance to combat the fire, which was brought under control hours later, but not before claiming one life.

Police on Friday identified 67-year-old Michael Damiano, who lived on the fourth floor, as the man who died from injuries sustained in the fire.

Photo courtesy of Yonkers Fire Department.

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