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Fires and Sprinklers: What is a Landlord's Safety Obligation?
BEAVERCREEK-- Fifty people were left homeless Tuesday night after fire broke out at a Beavercreek apartment complex that didn't have sprinklers. Reporter Kelly May investigated what a landlord's obligation is to keep renters safe.
Fire officials warn that having sprinklers can make a big difference in how quickly a fire spreads.
The two-alarm fire at the Stonebridge apartments in Beavercreek took firefighters hours to control. Current fire code will make installing sprinklers mandatory when the building that burned is reconstructed, but even after a fire event that causes massive damage, why will the surrounding buildings not be required to meet the same codes as the reconstruction of the burned building?
"These kind of buildings with them being the age that they are and having the number of occupants they do, I think it should be a priority that they're up to code," said Paige Burge outside of the Stonebridge apartments.
"If there's a total loss of a building and it gets rebuilt, it meets current codes and standards," said Huber Heights Fire Marshal Jason Eckert.
Older apartment complexes meet fire codes from the year they are constructed, but over the years, those codes change. Eckert says there's nothing in Ohio that requires residences to change what was built years ago to meet modern requirements-- including sprinkler systems.
"There's not a whole lot of retro activity right now for sprinkler systems," Eckert said.
Huber Heights fire released demonstration video that shows how helpful sprinklers are in containing fire spread. Firefighters lit a space on fire, and watched as it became fully engulfed in just a few minutes. In a seperate room that had sprinklers installed, they conducted the same experiment, but saw the fire contained to its source, and the sprinklers activate in just 17 seconds.
Eckert says visual demonstrations help the public and lawmakers understand how damage can be prevented.
"I have a nephew that lives here and a sister that lives here and if the code isn't changed and it waits for something like this to happen- unfortunately somebody could be really hurt or killed," added Paige Burge.
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