New York City Council Calls for Review of Fire Protection in City’s Many Landmarks

The fire at Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019, reminds us that all landmarks are at risk for fires. Chief Billy Goldfeder, a staunch fire sprinkler advocate, partner in life safety, and former keynote speaker at our annual seminar, sent us an article: Notre-Dame Fire in Paris Forces New York City Council to Look at Own Landmarks. The piece focuses on a call from the chair of the city council’s Fire and Emergency Management Committee to review landmark fire protection by conducting an inventory of systems in the city’s historic and culturally significant buildings.

In the article, Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College, states that there is a register for landmarks in New York City. But he knows of no master list of those properties that includes critical fire protection information, like whether they have a sprinkler system or a pre-fire action plan.

“What you might be able to do is use a database for city historic preservation efforts and look for sites that have been listed or nominated for landmark status,” he said. “I don’t think they will have any level of detail about fire protection in them, but it gives you a place to start.”

Read the full article here.

Screenshot of NYC Landmarks

An official map of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The commission documents basic information about the city’s historic buildings and sites but does not currently include landmark fire protection information.

The National Fire Sprinkler Association has contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers who can protect national treasures in this country and around the world. And there are plenty of examples here in the United States where fire sprinklers have made the difference between a minor incident and a tragedy. The Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 in Colorado just experienced an incident where the fire sprinkler system contained the fire until the fire department arrived. And a fire sprinkler protected the Smithsonian Castle that harbors so many American treasurers—the system saved everything, and the museum was only closed to the public for one day.

NFSA’s members and non-members have worked together since 1905 to protect America’s treasures, like the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and the Christ Church in Philadelphia. This is NFSA fulfilling our mission of “saving lives and protecting property through the widespread acceptance of the fire sprinkler concept.”

It is such an honor to serve an industry that implements the best way to save lives and safeguard property. Our members, who include top fire officials and fire protection engineers, know the best means and methods to protect life and property in any structure around the world—including landmark fire protection.

Ever have a question about landmark fire protection? NFSA members can reach out via our website or by calling 443-863-4464 for answers and support from our engineering and code experts. Not an NFSA member yet? Join today!




For over a century, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) has served as the voice of the fire sprinkler industry. Our mission: advocating to protect lives and property through the widespread acceptance of the fire sprinkler concept. To join NFSA or learn more about the ways membership can benefit your organization, visit