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Residential Floors of John Hancock Center Not Protected With Fire Sprinklers

Fire sprinklers could have prevented a fire from spreading on the 50th floor of the John Hancock Center.

According to Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), this is one of those situations where you have an iconic Chicago high-rise building that you might think is up to date with the latest protection from fire, but it’s not.

“People are surprised when they find out that the building does not have fire sprinklers protecting the people who live in the building only the commercial areas,” Lia said.

“This fire is the perfect example of the flaws in Chicago’s Life Safety Evaluation System which was engineered to allow as many buildings to pass the evaluation without requiring fire sprinklers,” he added.

“At this time we hope that Chicago is in earnest in its enforcement of the hundreds of delinquent high-rise buildings that have not even conducted the basic requirements of the Life Safety Evaluation, even after a three year delay. We trust Mayor Emanuel and his Building Department are moving steadily to keep enforcement moving forward. While 45 buildings are in court, there are still hundreds not complying,” Lia said.


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