Major push underway to save people from dying in house fires

Durham Road fire (Report-It/Richard Swan)

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a major push underway in Connecticut to save lives with the help of a sprinkler system.

The Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition has been working for months to get a bill passed in Hartford that would make in mandatory for all newly constructed one and two family homes to have a sprinkler system installed. This is a state-wide initiative that would not affect older homes.

“We want people to understand that with a smoke detector and a sprinkler system you have an 80% chance of getting out of a house fire,” said Keith Flood, who’s the fire marshal in West Haven and chairman of the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

The sprinkler system would be connected to a home’s main water line. It’s activated by intense heat and would only go off in a room where there’s a fire. The sprinklers are designed so that they would not go off all at once.

“Now they’re recessed so you don’t even see the sprinkler head,” said Flood. “You won’t even know it’s there if you were walking through the house.”

In recent weeks several people were killed in house fires, some of which took place in Bristol, Middletown and Putnam. The hope is to stop such tragedies from happening in the years to come by making these sprinkler systems mandatory.

“Every minute that goes by the fire will expand and will keep increasing,” said Deputy Chief Scott Schwartz with the West Haven Fire Department. “So if the sprinklers did go off it would keep it in check.”

Officials tell News 8 the cost to install the sprinklers would be roughly $2 per square foot of the home. However, that price is expected to go down over time. The latest sprinkler bill is currently in the Public Safety Committee. From there it’s expected to go to the House and Senate, and if approved will go into effect in January 2017.

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