Hawaii News Digest, 24 July 2017, 15:25 hrs, UTC, Post #15357.
Accessed on 24 July 2017, 15:25 hrs, UTC.
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Honolulu, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, and New York City have one thing in common when it comes to high-rise apartment buildings–each city has hundreds of multistory dwellings without fire suppression systems, such as sprinkler systems.
That omission proved fatal in the Marco Polo fire in Honolulu where three people died in the blaze. When the Marco Polo complex was built in 1971, sprinkler systems were required. And now 46 years later, the “law of averages” has caught up with Honolulu.
The fire has renewed a call for mandatory fire suppression systems in tall buildings across the country.
According to “The Honolulu Star-Advertiser”, steps are being taken to correct this tragic building mistake:
“In the inferno’s aftermath, Honolulu’s fire chief said sprinklers would have contained the blaze to the unit where it started, possibly saving the lives of those who died in nearby apartments. Mayor Kirk Caldwell introduced a bill a few days later that would require all high-rises to have sprinklers, even older ones.”
“I don’t know what it’s going to take for apartment owners as well as associations to see the value of human life,” said Hawaii state Sen. Glenn Wakai, who plans to introduce legislation offering homeowners incentives to install sprinkler systems.
“The fire was not the first one at the 36-story Marco Polo building — and not the first time the question of installing sprinklers has come up. After a 2013 fire, the building’s association asked an engineering firm for cost estimates to replace the fire alarm system and install sprinklers.”
“The company concluded it would be about $8,000 per unit to install sprinklers, or about $4.5 million for the whole building. Sprinklers were never installed.”
“It’s a tough issue for these associations because they are grappling with a lot of different costs,” said Evan Fujimoto, president of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii. “When you’re dealing with an association, you might have 500 different people. How do you get people to agree on it?”
Just how much is a human life worth these days?
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Hawaii News Digest