In a story underscoring home fire sprinklers, a local homebuilding association has provided inaccurate information about today's home fire problem.
“Since 1991 when the construction code began requiring interconnected, hardwired, battery back-up smoke detectors there have been zero residential deaths in new construction,” Remi Stone, executive director of the Builders Association of Minnesota, told a CBS affiliate. “At best, mandating sprinkler systems in new homes is redundant.”
Stone's statement is inaccurate. Within the past few years, NFPA has been alerted to at least two fires in "new homes" that have resulted in child fire deaths. Last year, a six-year-old girl died from fire in a Connecticut home built months before her death. In 2015, another child, Nora Lamirande, died in one of New York's new homes. These fires occurred in homes built after 2009, when a requirement to fire sprinkler new homes made it into all U.S. model building codes. Had these states required fire sprinklers instead of taking steps that ultimately prohibited this requirement in new homes, these lives may have been saved. Home fire sprinklers also have the power to eventually reduce the approximately 2,500 deaths occurring each year in the U.S.
These incidents underscore the fact that no matter the age of a home, fire kills. Safety advocates can provide facts about how today’s homes burn and the fire risks associated with new homes.
"Newer homes don't burn" is one of the persistent myths that we as fire sprinkler advocates need to counter. Please share this story on social media and help us spread the message that home fire sprinklers are a necessity in all new construction.