"Deficient" Fire Escape Leads To Lengthy Closure of Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site has been closed due to problems with its fire escape.

Lack of a safe fire escape has forced the National Park Service to close the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site in New York City, possibly for as long as three months.

A building inspection earlier this week found that the fire escape was not safe to use, said Darren Boch, a Park Service spokesman. Because the building must have two ways for people to exit, the decision was made to close the site until repairs could be made.

Until the agency receives bids for making the fire escape safe, it's impossible to say how much repairs might cost, Mr. Boch said Thursday.

“That’s something we’re going to have to seek some emergency funding to get addressed," he said.

The historic site, located in lower Manhattan on East 20th Street, is not the original house in which the 26th president of the United States was born in. That structure was demolished in 1916, and the existing building later was constructed with input from President Roosevelt's wife and sisters to ensure historical accuracy. It's estimated that about half of the furnishings are from the original home.