Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Data Analysis & Visualization


Michelle McSweeney

Subject Categories

Data Science


heating, new york city, fire incidents


If you have ever had the Citizen app downloaded on your smart phone, then you know how many alerts you receive in a day living in New York City (NYC). Citizen is a mobile app that sends real-time safety alerts based on the location of its user. In my experience having the app, I have seen many notifications of fires caused by heaters during the winter. On the morning of January 9th, 2022, I received a notification of an accidental blaze that took the lives of 17 people from the choking smoke of a 19-story residential building in the Bronx. This fire was the third deadliest the United States (US) has seen in more than four decades.[1] A malfunctioning space heater was the cause of the fatal blaze. The second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries is heating. It is also the third leading cause of home fire deaths.[2] In a 2017 housing survey, nearly 20% of households in the Bronx utilize a secondary source of heat in addition to their primary source. At 20%, the Bronx currently has the highest rate among all the boroughs.[3]

This capstone project (hosted on the website, https://mlissade.github.io/NYC-Heating-Fire-Incidents/data-sources/index.html) addresses heating fire incidents throughout the NYC boroughs during the cold weather seasons. How many complaints does the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) get about heat per season? Are there more residential heating fires during the colder months? Are more of these fires in low-income areas? This project would highlight the importance to NYC residents about knowing their rights to proper heating during the cold weather seasons and holding their landlords accountable for making sure it is provided. It would also give insights to the HPD as to how imperative it is for them to investigate buildings that make complaints of poor heating. Most importantly, this urges lawmakers and fire marshals to create and enforce regulations that could prevent incidents like the January 2022 Bronx fire from happening again.

[1] (Ortiz 2022)

[2] (National Fire Protection Association n.d.)

[3] (The City of New York 2017)

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Data Science Commons