Occupy Wall Street got its confiscated generators back on Tuesday after its legal team pressed the Fire Department of New York to release them.
The machines were picked up from the New York City Fire Academy at Randall's Island by the Wikileaks truck, which has been stationed next to Zuccotti Park since the protest's inception. The vehicle with the generator on board made its way back to Zuccotti Park hours before a planned concert by Graham Nash and David Crosby.
Yetta Kurland, a lawyer representing the protesters, said the generators did not violate any FDNY code.
The protesters have been without machine-generated power since Oct. 28, when police and firefighters seized their gas and biodeisel generators on the grounds that they were a fire hazard. Protesters have been using bicycle-powered generators to charge batteries in the park, but they were without steady power as a freak snowstorm hit on Oct. 29.
Lawyers for the protesters sent the FDNY a letter on Oct. 29 demanding the return of their equipment. Last week the fire department gave in. "I believe they gave the generators back because they had no basis to confiscate them," Kurland said. "When there’s a fire inspection, the normal procedure is for the FDNY to give corrective feedback ... That didn’t happen here. Rather than saying do this or that or taking corrective steps, they simply confiscated the generators and didn’t even list on the confiscation order what the specific violations were."
Kurland added that the return of the equipment came with no stipulation about how and where it could be used. "Generators in parks are not automatically violations of any safety codes," Kurland said. "In fact, the regulations say you can have a diesel generator or a gasoline generator as long as it’s under a certain BTU or a certain amount of feet from a tent or structure."
The Atlantic Wire has reached out to the NYFD for comment and will update this story once they reply. On Oct. 30, FDNY spokesman Francis Gribbon told The New York Times that the use of generators at Zuccotti would continue to be prohibited. On Friday the New York Daily News reported that police and firefighters continued to search the park for fuel and generators, which they would remove.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.