SOHO — The architect pushing to remove fire escapes from two SoHo buildings has been ordered to stop, according to city officials and records.
Joseph Pell Lombardi, an architect specializing in preservation of historic buildings, wants to remove the front and back fire escapes from 69 and 71 Greene St. as part of a renovation of the two buildings.
Lombardi insists the fire escapes are not safe, but the buildings' tenants say their only other way to leave the building in an emergency is by an internal staircase made of wood.
The tenants say they are afraid for their safety and an FDNY engineer has sided with them, submitting testimony to the city and writing emails to Lombardi demanding that the project stop.
But the DOB issued a stop work order for 69 Greene St. after an inspection on Monday, records show. A DOB spokesman said Lombardi "failed an audit for code compliance."
The stop-work order specifies that Lombardi must verify tenant safety "such as egress and safety with active [construction] jobs," and specifically mentions sprinklers. It also mentions "conformance with approved jobs" and "performing permitted work in accordance with plans/permits."
DNAinfo New York previously reported that tenants were concerned that their fire sprinklers had been covered over when the ceilings were dropped lower and that they were unclear on whether the workers had ever obtained permits to do that work.
Reached for comment, Lombardi said, "We haven't yet seen the objections to the second examination. Once we have them, we will comply with the request."