“I feel like if [home fire sprinklers were] mandatory, it would save a lot of lives,” O’Neal told a CBS station in Texas. “It would have been a big aid that day in putting the fire down enough until the fire department could get it control. It might not have got so far out of hand.”
His son was one of about 150 Texans who die every year from home fires. A powerful force there is spending serious dollars preventing, what some believe, is the answer to end future fire deaths. According to a report by the National Institute on Money in State Politics underscored by the CBS station, Texas homebuilders and realtors have spent more than $24 million lobbying against home fire sprinklers. In Texas, jurisdictions are unable to enact any new fire sprinkler ordinances.
The president of the Dallas Builders Association stated that fire sprinklers would price 20,000 homeowners out of a home. The news report does not indicate how that figure was derived. However, Chris Connealy, the Texas State Fire Marshal and member of the Texas Fire Sprinkler Coalition, has based his support for sprinklers on sound data.
"The statistics tell the story," he told CBS. "No one has died in a sprinklered occupancy in Texas."