My Fire Escape Garden and the Fire Code

Posted on Jan 29 2010 - 5:12am by Mike Lieberman

The complaint that I often hear about my fire escape garden is that it is a fire hazard and that I’m putting lives at risk.

I do respect the fact that it is a fire escape and a means for people to evacuate the building in case of an emergency. This is something that I take seriously because on January 29, 2003, my apartment burned down.

This is just one reason why I make sure that there is a clear foot path for people to walk and that the hand rails are available to use.

Screenshot 2014-04-10 17.40.00Technically, my garden violates the fire code because I am storing items on it. I also break the law daily when I j-walk. I’m not trying to be a smart ass, but it’s one of those laws that’s not always enforced.

The landing space of the fire escape is about 2’x3′ with the containers taking up about 8″. That leaves 16″ of foot space, which is plenty of room for someone to safely walk.

The one potential hazard was the cherry tomato plant, which wasn’t a small plant. I won’t be growing that on the fire escape in the future.

With all of that being said, I do maintain the integrity of the fire escape while using the available space to grow fresh organic vegetables.

What do you think about my fire escape garden?