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Citing the fire, Governor Rick Scott has vetoed legislation that would have ended sprinkler requirements for condominiums in Florida. Fire safety advocates say it's a victory for public safety and for firefighters.
The National Fire Sprinkler Association says there is a fire in a Florida high-rise every three days.
State law, passed in 2000, requires all high-rise condominiums to install sprinkler systems by the year 2020. Condominiums can opt to install other life safety features instead.
“If there's fire sprinklers it usually will hold that fire to a very small fire because the fire sprinklers will activate," said Julius Halas, the Director of the Division of State Fire Marshall. "And then the firefighters are coming in really to what we would call mop up.”
Citing costs, legislation passed earlier this year would have allowed residents to vote to end sprinkler and other safety requirements.
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," says Buddy Dewar of the NFSA. "So it's been 17 years in the running and they just keep postponing and postponing.”
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.
The National Fire Protection Association says fire departments around the country respond to 14,500 fires in high-rise apartments each year.