White Plains residents raise safety concerns after months of false fire alarms
Residents who live at the Avalon in downtown White Plains are sounding the alarm after they say the fire alarm in their building goes off for no reason several times a night, every week.
"Anywhere from three to five, sometimes more times a week we have fire alarms going off predominantly between midnight and 3 a.m.," said three-year resident Paul Corrente.
Corrente is one of several tenants who reached out to News 12 when they felt like management wasn't doing enough to be transparent about the issue or communicate a solution.
"It does feel like the timeline has just been dragged out really way more than the residents can handle," said Corrente.
Residents said for years they would deal with one or two false fire alarms a month, but it wasn't enough to raise concern.
But those occurrences have increased dramatically, according to residents, who said it has happened dozens of times since the start of this year alone.
White Plains police and fire department officials respond to the building each time the alarm goes off, despite it being a false alarm, according to city public safety officials.
"If there's a real fire down the street, we're now utilizing the resources for no reason," said three-year resident Audrey Robles.
But more than just the quality of life and broader community issues, residents are scared of what would happen if there was a real emergency.
Many said they no longer evacuate the building and just assume it's a false alarm because it happens so often.
"What if there is a real fire? Nobody is going to come down when there is a real fire and that's alarming that now they're putting our lives at risk because nobody takes these alarms seriously anymore," said seven-year resident Analisa B.
According to the White Plains fire code, the city can fine the building's management for each false alarm.
News 12 left a message with the White Plains fire chief to confirm that it's enforcing this part of the law and to get a better understanding of why this is happening but have not heard back.
Fines range from $25 for the first offense to $250 for each one after the 11th, according to the document.
At least one resident met with management on Wednesday to discuss the issue but said he was told they are working on the issue.
Others said something needs to be done.
"I just want to live in a safe building where if the fire alarm does go off, I know I need to evacuate because there's an actual fire or threat of fire," said Robles.
News 12 sent several emails to both Avalon's corporate office as well as the local community manager seeking comment, but we're not returned.
A woman who only identified herself as a member of the management team, and whose identity was confirmed by several residents, approached the News 12 crew while they were speaking with residents but did not want to speak on camera or answer questions.