New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law Thursday that requires electric space heaters sold in the state to have thermostats, automatic shut-offs, and be certified by a testing and certification body recognized and approved by the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The legislation is in response to the Twin Parks apartments fire that killed 19 people in the Bronx back in January. The measure addresses space heater safety after one of the devices was found to have been the cause of that blaze. Space heaters are often use in homes if a primary heating source is broken or insufficient.
"After flames engulfed the Twin Parks apartments last year, we worked to help impacted families recover and vowed to never forget the tragedy and to protect New Yorkers," Gov. Hochul said in a statement. "As the weather gets colder once again and we crank up the heat in our homes, this legislation will help prevent future disasters and keep New Yorkers safe as we ensure higher safety standards for all electric space heaters sold in our state."
Space heaters sold in the state that don't follow these new requirements would be barred from being sold in the state.
State lawmakers passed the bill back in May. State Sen. Cordell Cleare and Assemblyman Kenny Burgos were the ones who backed the bill.
"The 'Safe Space Heaters Act' was the very first bill I introduced and I commend Governor Hochul for signing it, as it is specifically designed to prevent fires, save lives and make residences safer during heating season," Cleare said. "New Yorkers deserve the highest safety standards in the nation and today we take action to meaningfully remember those we have lost in the past and resolve to end preventable fires now and forevermore."
"Today, I am thankful that Governor Hochul has signed our life-saving bill, 'the Safe Space Heaters Act.' The new safety measures on electric space heaters will keep New Yorkers safe in their homes as we enter these cold winter months," Burgos said. "I also thank Senator Cleare for being a great partner in pushing this legislation and look forward to seeing this new law take effect."