Multiple-Fatality Home Fire Brings Attention to Village of Arlington Heights’ Omission of Home Fire Sprinklers in Building Code

An early morning fire on November 6th, swept through a two-story, single-family home in Arlington Heights killing three adults. Fire officials said that portions of the house collapsed, which made search and rescue difficult. According to the United States Fire Administration, the number of civilian residential fire fatalities in Illinois now totals 84 fatalities in 2013.

“The majority of residential fire deaths, such as these three deaths, occur overnight when people are sleeping, often going undetected for several minutes. In this case, their exits were probably blocked due to the floor collapses,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB).

That’s why Lia stresses the importance of Illinois jurisdictions adopting current editions of the national model building and fire codes to prevent fire deaths and injuries among residents and firefighters alike. Recent editions of the International Residential Code include requirements for home fire sprinklers in new construction single-family homes.

“The Village of Arlington Heights, however, chose to omit the home fire sprinkler requirements for new homes when it adopted the 2009 International Residential Code during its code updates in 2011,” states Lia. “This fire was the type of tragic event that can be prevented in the future by not omitting the minimum provisions of national model codes. Hopefully, the Arlington Heights Village Board will learn from this fire and use it as an example to include fire sprinkler requirements for new homes in its next code update.”

In fact, Illinois currently has 91 communities that have enacted local ordinances or adopted national model codes to require home fire sprinklers in new construction because of the life-saving protection they provide.

“Better fire and building codes that include home fire sprinklers greatly reduce the loss of human lives. Our prayers go out to the family and friends of the fire victims in Arlington Heights,” adds Lia.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply