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U.S. fire service organizations urge immediate action to improve fire safety in older buildings following two deadly fires

Linthicum Heights, MD, January 10, 2022 – The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the National Fallen Fire Fighter Foundation (NFFF), International Association Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) are calling on Congress to immediately pass critical legislation to improve fire safety in public housing and older high-rise buildings.

The call follows two tragic fires in the last 5 days that claimed the lives of at least 31 people and injured well over 60.  The first fire occurred at a public housing rowhouse in Philadelphia on January 5, 2022, and claimed the lives of twelve people including eight children.  The second blaze occurred on January 9th in the Bronx.  This second fire is the worst incident in New York City in 30 years and claimed the lives of 19 individuals.  Another 63 have been reported injured, some of them critically, and the death toll may increase further in the days ahead.

Linking the two tragedies is the fact that neither building had fire sprinklers.  “It’s going on thirty years since Congress passed the Federal Fire Safety Act in 1992, requiring newly built multi-family housing units to have fire sprinklers,” says Shane Ray, President of the National Fire Sprinkler Association. “The problem is that the law did not require fire sprinklers for the existing units.”

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates 570,000 multi-family public housing units were constructed prior to the sprinkler requirement. But fixing this problem is within our reach, with $53 billion in public housing upgrades, including fire sprinklers, in the Build Back Better bill that passed the House last year. This is another reminder why we need to pass that legislation now.”

President Ray continued “the apartment building in the Bronx was privately owned.  However, there is legislation pending in Congress right now called the High-Rise Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (H.R. 6192/S.3346) that would provide a tax incentive to property owners to install fire sprinklers.  Congress needs to move this legislation immediately and not wait for another loss of life before acting.”

Passing the Build Back Better Act and the High-Rise Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act are two of the most meaningful ways that Congress can prevent more tragedies like this and help ensure the physical and mental safety of America’s fire fighters.

Chief Siarnicki of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) stated “on top of the unbearable loss for the residents and communities impacted, there is an incredible toll on firefighters too. It’s to hard to get over the sights and smells of responding to tragedies like these. There is a physical and mental toll in addition to the toxic environment that firefighters are exposed to, which cause cancer at an alarming rate. This risk and loss could easily be mitigated if the law required adequate fire protection in these buildings, especially fire sprinkler systems.”

Fire Chief Kenneth W. Stuebing, President and Chair of the Board of the IAFC concluded “Fire sprinklers have a proven history of saving lives. We urge Congress to prevent future tragedies by funding fire and life safety improvements in public housing.”

Information will continue to come out on these incidents, public policy makers should ensure funding is available to protect these facilities and no building owner should want their investment to exist without adequate fire protection. It should not take a tragedy to make changes that we have known for over a century.

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2022-01-12T10:35:05-06:00January 10th, 2022|Comments Off on U.S. fire service organizations urge immediate action to improve fire safety in older buildings following two deadly fires

Fire Sprinkler Stops Townhome Fire

December 13, 2021
LINCOLNSHIRE, IL – A fire sprinkler stopped a fire from spreading in a two-story townhouse until the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Department arrived and extinguished the remaining fire. The home had working smoke alarms and alerted the residents to escape. The cause of the fire is unknown. No injuries were reported.

Source:  Daily Herald

2021-12-16T17:24:37-06:00December 13th, 2021|Comments Off on Fire Sprinkler Stops Townhome Fire

Fire Sprinkler Contains Naperville Apartment Fire

December 8, 2021
NAPERVILLE, IL – A single fire sprinkler contained a fire inside a second-floor unit of a three-story apartment building in Naperville. When fire crews arrived, they found a single sprinkler activated and held the fire in check until firefighters fully extinguished it. The cause is under investigation. No injuries were reported.

Source:  PositivelyNaperville.com

2021-12-15T16:36:40-06:00December 8th, 2021|Comments Off on Fire Sprinkler Contains Naperville Apartment Fire

New Christmas Tree Fire Safety Video Offers Safety Tips and Demonstrates How Quickly Fires Can Spread

 

Tinley Park, IL (December 1, 2021) – According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), holiday decorations can increase the risk for a home fire during the holiday season. In particular, Christmas trees account for more than 160 fires and result in more than $10 million in direct property damage in the United States every year. The most common causes for tree fires include issues with electrical lighting equipment, which is a factor in half of all tree fires, and heat sources such as candles or heating equipment being too close to trees.

To increase awareness about how quickly fire can spread, the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) partnered with the Palatine Fire Department to produce a Christmas tree fire safety video for Illinois fire departments to share with their communities during the holiday season. In addition to providing fire safety tips, the video includes footage of multiple fires, with and without home fire sprinklers, that were started in identical rooms with live and artificial trees. In the unprotected rooms, the fires reached flashover in approximately three minutes or less, fully erupting into flames and reaching well over 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. In the rooms protected with home fire sprinklers, heat from the tree fires each caused a single fire sprinkler to activate in less than 20 seconds and prevent the fires from spreading.

“Christmas trees are a staple in many homes throughout the holiday season. We wanted to provide a visual to remind people to follow simple safety tips to prevent fires in their homes,” said NIFSAB Executive Director Erik Hoffer. “We do not want to see anyone without a house or home, especially during the holidays, due to a preventable fire.”

When putting up a Christmas tree, residents should follow these important safety tips that are featured in the video:

  • Water live trees daily.
  • Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source and it is not blocking any exits.
  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory such as UL.
  • Do not use lights strands with worn or broken cords or loose bulbs.
  • Always turn off the tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

The new video reinforces the life- and property-saving benefits of home fire sprinklers. More than 115 communities and fire districts in Illinois require fire sprinklers in all new construction one- and two-family homes. Fire sprinklers are the only technology that actively control a fire and gives residents time to safety escape. “With home fire sprinklers, working smoke alarms, and regularly practiced fire escape plans, families can have peace of mind and comfortably enjoy the holiday season,” adds Hoffer.

View the video: https://firesprinklerassoc.org/christmas-tree-demo-video/

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2021-12-01T08:53:11-06:00December 1st, 2021|Comments Off on New Christmas Tree Fire Safety Video Offers Safety Tips and Demonstrates How Quickly Fires Can Spread

Fire Sprinklers Contain Chemical Fire Inside Industrial Building

November 30, 2021
ROUND LAKE, IL
– Fire sprinklers controlled a fire at an industrial building, until firefighters arrived to extinguish the fire.

According to Battalion Chief Anthony Carraro, Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District, the fire involved industrial chemicals stored in a box truck that was inside the building. Northern Insulation, Inc., specializes in insulating various types of construction for residential and commercial buildings.

The building was not occupied at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

Source:  LakemMcHenryScanner.com

2021-12-06T12:19:59-06:00November 30th, 2021|Comments Off on Fire Sprinklers Contain Chemical Fire Inside Industrial Building

Fire Sprinkler Controls Kitchen Fire in Multi-Family Apartment Building

November 23, 2021
PALATINE, IL – A single fire sprinkler contained a kitchen fire in a 40-unit apartment building. Palatine Fire Department crews arrived four minutes after the call and reported heavy smoke and fire coming from a second-floor unit. Upon entry, crews found the sprinkler extinguished most of the fire. Crews deployed a hose line and extinguished the remaining fire.

According to Fire Marshal Jay Atherton, without the sprinkler controlling the fire, multiple units would have been left uninhabitable.

The cause of the fire was improper storage of combustible material in the boiler.  No injuries were reported.

Source:  Palatine Fire Department Press Release, Journal-Topics.com, and Sprinkler Save Submission by Fire Marshal Jay Atherton.

2021-12-10T13:38:20-06:00November 23rd, 2021|Comments Off on Fire Sprinkler Controls Kitchen Fire in Multi-Family Apartment Building

Fire Sprinkler Contains Hotel Entrance Fire

November 17, 2021
KANKAKEE, IL
– A fire sprinkler controlled a fire at the front entrance of the Hilton Garden Inn in Kankakee. Firefighters were dispatched to the hotel after a heating element caused the fire inside the ceiling area near the front door. No injuries were reported.  The hotel was able to remain open.

 Source:  Daily Journal, Kankakee

2021-11-19T15:15:42-06:00November 17th, 2021|Comments Off on Fire Sprinkler Contains Hotel Entrance Fire

Fire Sprinkler Contains Restaurant Fire in South Barrington

South Barrington Restaurant Fire

November 16, 2021
SOUTH BARRINGTON, IL – A single fire sprinkler contained a kitchen fire at the Wok-N-Fire restaurant in South Barrington, protecting eight employees who were in the building at the time of the fire.

According to Fire Chief Jason Parthun, a water heater caught fire due to a negative pressure situation caused by the hood exhaust. One fire sprinkler extinguished the fire before the crew arrived. The damage was kept to a minimum and the restaurant was able to open the next day.

Source:  Jason Parthun, Fire Chief of East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District

2021-12-06T10:53:11-06:00November 16th, 2021|Comments Off on Fire Sprinkler Contains Restaurant Fire in South Barrington

Fire Sprinkler Contains Hotel Room Fire

Schaumburg Extended Stay Fire 2 Schaumburg Extended Stay Fire 1

November 11, 2021

SCHAUMBURG, IL – A single fire sprinkler contained a fire inside a room at an extended stay hotel. A contractor working with chemicals that contacted a heat source caused the fire. Residents were not displaced from the hotel. No injuries were reported.

Source:  Michael R. Rons, Fire Marshal, Schaumburg Fire Department

2021-11-22T13:51:33-06:00November 11th, 2021|Comments Off on Fire Sprinkler Contains Hotel Room Fire

Village of Bloomingdale Becomes One of the Latest Illinois Communities to Require Fire Sprinklers In All New Homes

Bloomingdale Village Ad

The Village of Bloomingdale recently upgraded its code to the 2018 International Residential Code, which includes installing fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes.

Building Commissioner Mike Gricus played a vital role in making sure village board members understood the importance of home fire sprinklers during the process of adopting the code. “They are well informed and safety is important to them,” Gricus said.  “That is why we upgrade our codes every three years. For years, all commercial buildings, regardless of size, had to be protected with fire sprinklers. It is satisfying to know that Bloomingdale adopted a code that now protects our residents in their homes.”

Prior to the code upgrade, the village worked with Pulte Homes, offering a trade up to encourage fire sprinkler installations. By installing fire sprinklers in their townhomes, the firewalls could be rated for two hours of protection instead of three, which allowed Pulte to save on construction costs.

Erik Hoffer, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), said the code upgrade is a win-win for the community and firefighters alike. “In addition to protecting their residents for generations to come, protecting all buildings, both commercial and residential, will address the growing national concern for firefighter health and safety in regard to carcinogen exposure from fires,” Hoffer said.

According to NIFSAB, there are now more than 110 municipalities and fire protection districts in Illinois that require fire sprinklers in all new construction, regardless of building type, through the adoption of ordinances and national model codes provided by the International Code Council and the NFPA.

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2021-11-12T08:00:54-06:00November 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Village of Bloomingdale Becomes One of the Latest Illinois Communities to Require Fire Sprinklers In All New Homes