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After Fatal Fires, NFSA Calls for Fire Sprinkler Requirements


Print Article Contributed by BSM Staff


DENVER -- Within one week, three serious residential fires -- two with multiple fatalities -- occurred in the north metro area of Denver. None of the three residences -- one single-family home and two apartment buildings -- were equipped with fire sprinkler systems.

National, model building and fire codes require smoke alarms and fire sprinklers in all new residential construction. The National Fire Sprinkler Association asks, “when will Colorado and its communities follow these codes?”

On July 22nd, two people died and nine were injured in an early-morning apartment fire in Westminster, Colorado. The fire started shortly after 2 a.m. When fire crews arrived at 2:20 a.m., the building was already fully involved. While Westminster requires fire sprinklers in new residential structures they were not required when the building was constructed.       

"This is a real tragedy for a community like Westminster who is a leader in the country because they require all new residential construction to be built to the latest national codes," says Shane Ray, National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) President. "Unfortunately, this was built before the proactive leadership of the community took action."

On July 27th, a 68-year-old man and his 95-year-old mother died after they were pulled from their burning home by firefighters in Arvada, Colorado.

On July 30th, fire at an apartment complex in Thornton, Colorado injured three people and left 15 apartments uninhabitable. It has since been determined that the fire was caused by fireworks.

None of these buildings were required to have fire sprinklers when they were constructed.

Rob Geislinger, Great Plains Field Service Coordinator for the National Fire Sprinkler Association, has reached out to fire marshals in each of these jurisdictions and has offered to help avoid such tragedies in the future.

"NFSA is prepared to assist communities that desire to take action following a tragic event," added Shane Ray, NFSA President. "For an area to have three serious fires within one week, it's understandable that that becomes a rallying cry for proactive policy decisions that include fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers are the technology that can prevent these deadly fires."

Ironically, the National Fire Sprinkler Association has scheduled a Side-by-Side burn demonstration at another nearby community on Tuesday, August 7. This demonstration will involve two identical fires, one in a room protected by fire sprinklers while the other room is unprotected and graphically shows the destructive power of an uncontrolled fire versus the saving power of fire sprinklers.

The demonstration will occur at the Broomfield Night Out 2018, which will be held at Broomfield County Commons Park, 13200 Sheridan Boulevard. The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m., with the demonstration scheduled for 7:45.

NFSA was founded in 1905 and wants to create a more fire safe world, and works to heighten the awareness of the importance of fire sprinkler systems from homes to high-rise and all occupancies in between. The Association is an inclusive organization made up of dedicated and committed members of a progressive life-saving industry.

For more information, go to www.nfsa.org.