Utica Fire Chief stressing importance of codes following fatal fire

By NEWSChannel 2

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Local fire officials are stressing the importance of making sure your home is complying with city codes after city officials found codes violations in a house that caught fire on Columbia Street in the city of Utica last week, killing one man and leaving six others homeless.

Fire Chief Russell Brooks says that the Fire Department's Rental Occupancy Permit Program has helped increase compliance and decrease fires in rental properties.

"A while back in 2006, we transitioned our inspection program to inspect more rental dwelling units," Chief Brooks said. "We discovered that 90 percent of our fires were in rental dwelling units."

Brooks says the Rental Occupancy Permit Program has reduced fires in rental units by 50 percent.

Six people were forced out in sub-zero temperatures when fire struck Columbia Street last week.

The landlord is due in Utica City Court on Monday to answer to allegations of codes violations.

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