* From the Twitters…
* This has been a huge issue in Chicago…
Chicago residents vehemently voiced objections to the state fire marshal’s proposal to require all residential high-rise buildings to install fire sprinkler systems within the next 12 years at a town hall meeting Wednesday night.
The costs associated with implementing the water sprinklers are just too much to bear, far North Side residents said at the fire code meeting, hosted by State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) at Loyola University’s Cueno Hall.
State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis is pushing for the rule change, which would require high-rises in Illinois built before 1975 to install sprinklers. Currently, high-rises in Chicago built prior to 1975 are exempt from the requirement to install sprinklers. The buildings without sprinklers have, instead, undergone a rigorous life safety evaluation, according to Asif Rahman, deputy commissioner of the city’s buildings department. The fire marshal’s proposed rule would also mandate sprinklers in all new homes.
* The last straw was probably when Senate President John Cullerton voiced his opposition this week…
In his role as senate president, Cullerton appointed three of the JCAR members.
“If you insist on filing this rule with JCAR, I will have no choice but to intercede and request that the three members of the Senate Democratic caucus who serve on JCAR reject this rule and will ask my fellow legislative leaders to do the same,” Cullerton’s letter continued.
* But the fire marshal is also in hot water with some downstaters…
he Illinois State Fire Marshal wants to mandate fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new residential home construction and existing places of assembly, and time is running out to stop his efforts. State Rep. David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) is sounding an alarm about the proposal and Monday, he called on fellow Illinoisans to speak out before it’s too late to stop the effort.
“Right now families are working hard to save enough money to purchase or build a home, and with this mandate, they will be required to pay thousands of dollars more,” Reis said in a statement. “Additionally, many homes downstate rely on wells for fresh water which cannot accommodate these increased demands, which will lead to additional well drilling costs.”
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) proposed the new regulation on June 28, 2013, requiring the installation of fire sprinkler systems in new one-and-two family homes. Previous OSFM sprinkler mandate covered multi-family housing buildings, and single-family housing was carved out from the mandate. Existing churches and other places of public worship are also affected by this rulemaking.
*** UPDATE *** Statement from the Fire Marshal…
“After months of study into how we can better protect the lives and property of Illinois residents, I directed my office to draft Illinois’ first fire code update in 11 years.
“As the brave first responders alongside whom I have served during four decades in fire protection know, Illinois needs 21st century fire safety standards.
“Since we began this process, we conducted numerous meetings with local officials, legislators, fire safety professionals, community leaders and residents who have all expressed a desire to strengthen Illinois’ fire safety.
“We have received an unprecedented amount of public input and suggestions through emails, letters and public meetings.
“In the course of this process, it’s become clear that any proposed state rule needs additional refinement.
“Therefore today I am officially withdrawing the proposed rule before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to take into account substantial public comment and carefully re-examine this issue.”