Following last month’s Sofa Super Store warehouse inferno in Charleston, S.C., where roof failure resulted in nine firefighter fatalities, the United
Following last month’s Sofa Super Store warehouse inferno in Charleston, S.C., where roof failure resulted in nine firefighter fatalities, the United Association (UA) Fire Sprinkler Fitters Union pledged to work with fire service and building department groups to upgrade codes. The building was not protected by fire sprinklers which, UA claims, are designed to react to fire’s heat and discharge water automatically and early on, to control the fire and slow the spread of flames, heat and smoke. Officials in South Carolina indicated the warehouse was not equipped with sprinklers because it was built before codes were in place to require fire sprinkler systems.
We need to remove the deadliest fire code of them all, the Îgrandfather clauseÌ, said John Zubricks, Business Manager of UA Local 281 in Chicago. We support the fire service and building officials who want to upgrade their codes. They need our help to educate elected officials and legislators so they understand why there is a need to do away with dangerous Îgrandfather clausesÌ that permit the lack of fire safety measures or allow for substandard measures to exist. Unfortunately, it typically takes tragedies such as this before policymakers start to look at their codes.
As fitters, we work closely with members of the fire service. Because it is our job to install these live-saving systems, it’s extremely frustrating when we hear of a fire death in a building that’s not protected. It’s even more frustrating when there are multiple deaths, said Brad Karbowsky, Business Manager, UA Local 669, Columbia, Md. Data shows that there have never been multiple deaths in buildings protected with fire sprinklers.