Fred Durso

Fire officials rally against new bill that would block upcoming sprinkler mandate

Blog Post created by Fred Durso Employee on May 8, 2014

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Minnesota State Capitol

Upon learning that Minnesota legislators have introduced a bill blocking a sprinkler mandate set to take effect this fall, fire service officials immediately got to work.

The group, comprised mainly of Minnesota fire chiefs, rallied at the Minnesota State Capitol this week against proposed legislation that would bar the state from implementing sprinkler requirements and would prevent government entities from adopting sprinkler rules, according to a news report by an NBC affiliate. Following a ruling by an administrative law judge, Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry can mandate sprinklers in homes more than 4,500 square feet in size. The story states that the new proposal was an "11th-hour effort" by the Builders Association of Minnesota to block the upcoming mandate.

"We have yet to see a Realtor or a builder come and offer their sympathies and express how safe their house was after the fire," St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler said at the press conference.

The homebuilder association argued the necessity of sprinklers, stating in the news report that modern safety systems and building materials provide enough protection. On the contrary, recent data indicates that today's lightweight materials used in construction have a dangerous reaction to fire. Moreover, today's modern furnishings play a crucial role in increasing fire propagation.

Joining the fire service officials in front of a sea of reporters was Senator Ann Rest, who criticized the bill and her colleague's efforts. "This is an abuse of our process, and I know people don't like to talk about process that much, but it really is," she said.

Check this blog often for developments to this story.