Utica assemblyman says state considering ending gas station fire systems

A Central New York state lawmaker says New York is trying to rescind a requirement for gas stations to have automatic overhead fire extinguishing systems that can quickly smother a fire or explosion at the pumps.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi opposes the proposal he said quietly passed an advisory committee this year.

The Utica Democrat says the fire suppression systems required since 1984 are even more necessary now with the state saying many stations must have emergency generators so they can keep operating during power outages like those caused by Superstorm Sandy.

A state advisory panel has questioned the effectiveness of the fire systems and a convenience store association challenges the need for the costly devices.

The Cuomo administration is downplaying the committee recommendation. Cuomo spokesman Laz Benitez said Monday the Department of State is only in the early stages of considering the recommendation and won't take any action that would endanger lives as it tries to modernize the fire safety code.

The canopy protection systems automatically blast fire suppression material and shut off gasoline flow when a fire or explosion is detected at the pumps. Critics say the systems are outdated and costly.

New York is one of the few states with the requirement.