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Governor Holds Condominiums to 2020 Deadline for Getting Up to Fire Code

June 29th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
The deadly High-rise fire in London has reverberated in Florida.
Citing the fire, Governor Rick Scott has vetoed legislation at the would have ended sprinkler requirements for  condominiums in Florida.
Fire safety advocates say it’s a victory for public safety and for firefighters.
Two were killed and ten injured when fire broke out in the Dolphin Cove Condos in Clearwater in 2002, The building had no sprinklers.
The National Fire Sprinkler Association says there is a fire in a Florida high-rise every three days.
“Many of them are in sprinkler properties. Minimal damage, no fire deaths. The fire deaths in high-rise condominiums in Florida are in the non-sprinkler properties,” said Buddy Dewar with the NFSA.
State law passed in 2000 requires all high-rise condominiums to install sprinkler systems by the year 2020.
“If there’s fire sprinklers it usually will hold that fire to a very small fire because the fire sprinklers will activate. And then the firefighters are coming in really to what we would call mop up,” said Director of the Division of State Fire Marshal Julius Halas.
Citing costs, Legislation passed earlier this year would have allowed residents to vote to end sprinkler and other safety requirements.
““Each association should have that right to decide if they want to do those sorts of things,” said bill sponsor Representative George Moraitis.
The bill also would have delayed the deadline for the sprinklers installation to 2022.
“It became a national code requirement in 1991. and in 2000 Florida adopted that national code requirement. So it’s been 17 years in the running and they just keep postponing and postponing,” said Dewar.
The legislation was one of five bills vetoed this week.
“Hopefully that will send a clear message of the importance of fire safety for the citizens in those buildings and certainly for the firefighters,” said Halas.
2017 was the third time lawmakers passed a change to the sprinkler law and a Governor said no.
According to the National Fire Protection Association says fire departments around the country respond to 14,500 fires in high-rise apartments each year.

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