January 31 2023 0Comment

Deadly Chicago High-rise fire validates proposed Philadelphia City Ordinance

Article by Dale Grant – Digital Marketing & Media Guru

Shortly after 10am of Wednesday January 25th, a fire tore through several floors of a South-Side Chicago High-rise.

300 Firefighters and other first responders were at the scene as the fire spread through several floors of the building. When the fire was extinguished two hours later, one tenant was dead and several others injured.

According to the investigative team of a Chicago-based ABC affiliate, the building had failed it’s last seven inspections by the Department of Buildings, including one in December of 2022 for not testing the alarm and evacuation system.

In addition, the units of the high-rise do not have fire sprinklers.

The head of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board pointed out that after a deadly 2003 fire in a county administrative building the city passed ordinance requiring all residential high-rises to pass a “life safety evaluation.”

This ordinance, however, does not require fire sprinklers as long as the buildings put in passive measures such as self-closing doors to contain a fire.

Erik Hoffer, the director of the Fire Advisory Board does not necessarily think it’s enough.

“In this fire, the fire did have an opportunity to escape so it did effect other units, so we can see a building that has passed the life safety evaluation still does not get the job done.” Stated Hoffer in an interview with local press. He went on to urge the city of Chicago to re-evaluate its fire safety ordinance.

Locally, City of Philadelphia Councilmember Mark Squilla has put forth a bill that would require fire sprinklers in all buildings over 75 feet tall. While the bill has been on hold for several months, there are plans in place to hold a Licenses and Inspections Committee hearing on Bill 220299 in February of 2023. This bill would apply to installing fire sprinklers in new construction high-rises as well as retrofitting existing high-rise structures.

Often in structural fires, a single activated sprinkler head can extinguish or control a fire from spreading, greatly mitigating the chances for loss of life, injury or property damage.  

Witness a live side by side burn demonstration that was performed at Philadelphia City Hall by NFSA.

Oliver Fire Protection and Security has been the area’s Trusted Provider in Protection for fire suppression and notification systems for over 65 years. Our design team specializes in new construction as well as retrofit projects. Contact us for a FREE consultation to ensure your project meets with the newly proposed regulations.