Fire revives push for sprinklers in high-rises
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Residents displaced when flames tore through a 1960s-era Los Angeles apartment tower and injured 13 people this week are wondering why the management company didn’t install sprinklers after another destructive blaze seven years ago.
City officials said after the 2013 fire “that it shouldn’t take another tragedy” to get sprinklers into older buildings that are exempt from retrofitting rules, City Councilman Mike Bonin said Thursday. “But it did.”
Bonin will introduce a measure Friday that would require sprinklers in residential buildings built more than 50 years ago, before regulations required fire-suppression systems in buildings taller than 75 feet.
It’s an issue that officials in other U.S. cities have grappled with in recent years. Honolulu passed regulations requiring stricter safety rules for buildings with 10 floors or more after a fire raged through a 35-story condominium in 2017, killing four people. It was built in 1971, before the city required condos to have a sprinkler system.
In Chicago, a 2015 law required residential high-rises that were built before 1975 to install fire sprinklers. In New York City, many older residential buildings lack sprinklers, a fact that made headlines in 2018 when a fire at Trump Tower killed a resident and injured firefighters.