Published in NFPA
Following deadly year, New York continues to underscore its home fire problem. Is your state doing the same?
By Fred Durso January 19, 2018
We recently published commentary from Jerry DeLuca, a New York safety advocate, about two home fires in two days that killed eight people in his state. Other advocates have been equally vocal about similar tragedies occurring there this month.
A Bronx residential fire killing 13 people in December was deemed the deadliest fire in New York City within the past 27 years. “There has never been a multiple loss of life in any structure protected with a properly installed and maintained fire sprinkler system,” stated John A. Viniello, former president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, in a recent letter to the editor. “This omission [of fire sprinklers in residences] continues to result in lives lost. The city’s fire department…was on the Bronx fire scene within three minutes, yet people died.
“How much higher does the body count have to get before proactive fire sprinkler legislation is enacted? These deadly fires will continue unless wisdom prevails and the codes are updated.”
Fire fatalities last year in New York City rose 35 percent when compared to fire deaths in 2016, reports the New York Fire Sprinkler Council, an advocacy group that’s a division of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York. While the city has consistently expanded sprinkler requirements, “it is clear the city still has a long way to go in protecting all residents with fire sprinklers,” says Anthony Saporito, executive vice president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York. Per the council, New York City hasn’t passed a law improving fire sprinkler safety in residential buildings since 1999.
Are you and the sprinkler advocates in your state just as vocal about your home fire problem? Help raise awareness–constantly–about these tragedies by writing your own letter to the editor or commentary to your local media outlets. Just a couple paragraphs will suffice. Use NFPA’s data or statewide data (if available) to back your reasoning for home fire sprinkler requirements.