WHAT DOES A FIRE SURVIVOR REALLY WANT?
BURN ME ONCE – DON’T BURN ME AGAIN NO MORE MULTI-FAMILY FIRES!
Fire fatalities and injuries still occur for existing non-sprinklered multi-family buildings in Texas. After a fire, many times the rebuild does not include fire sprinklers as existing building codes for rebuilding are unclear and ambiguous where the threshold lies for “bringing it up to code”. NFSA is working with Fire Survivors and Texas Fire Marshals to better understand the problem and develop local solutions for Texas Fire Protection and Building Officials to model and use.
TEXAS FATAL FIRES
The Iconic Village Apartments in San Marcos, Texas, tragically lost 5 occupants on July 20, 2018: Dru Estes, 21; Haley Frizzel, 19; James Miranda, 23; Belinda Moats, 21; and David Ortiz, 21. Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner, Fire Chief Les Stephens, and the City of San Marcos City Council have recently adopted a “Burn Me Once – Don’t Burn Me Again” local ordinance. This ordinance more specifically defines when an apartment building must be re-built to current fire codes after suffering a fire.
Almost one year later and 30 miles north of San Marcos, Kaitlyn Denson, 26 years old, and her friend Joseph Tarin perished in an Austin Apartment Fire on July 15, 2019. Kaitlyn had rented the apartment through a third-party rental organization. The building has been rebuilt and is now fire sprinkler protected as of July 2020. The incident was the fourth fire at that apartment complex within the last ten years. Kaitlyn’s Mother, Kim Denson, has formed a non-profit Fire Safety Advocacy Association – “KaitKares.org” – to honor Kaitlyn and promote fire safety education and legislation. The City of Austin Fire Marshal’s Office is considering a more specific fire sprinkler retrofit ordinance like San Marcos. No fire sprinklers were present in both apartment fires, as local codes did not require sprinklers when they were built.
FIRE PROTECTION THAT WORKS
Former Texas State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy examined Texas Multi-family fire data over a 10-year period and wrote an Insurance Journal article which documented that “not one person has been killed in a fire in from 2002-2012 inside an apartment complex that was equipped with a fire sprinkler system.”
Several Texas Cities have adopted Multi-family fire protection ordinances that more specifically addresses how to rebuild a multi-family building after it has suffered a fire. These cities include Plano, Lewisville, and San Marcos. All Fire Protection Professionals are invited to join NFSA for a Multi-Family Retrofit FREE ONLINE Training on October 15, 2020/1:30-3:30 p.m. Click Here for access to the training.