Connecticut fire service leaders address fatal Plainfield home fire and lack of fire protection in state’s new homes

October 25, 2016 – Connecticut’s top fire service organizations joined the National
Fire Protection Association (NFPA) today at the South Fire District in Middletown to
address a home fire in September that killed a six-year-old girl in a new home and
inaction by state decision makers to provide a key safety feature in new homes.

“I find it appalling that in 2016 we continue to witness the devastation from home
fires when the solution to this problem has existed for years,” Keith Flood, fire
marshal for the West Haven Fire Department and chair of the Connecticut Fire
Sprinkler Coalition, said at today’s event. “Inaction by our state’s decision makers
has led to another tragedy. We need them to finally start embracing home fire
sprinklers and stop listening to the rhetoric by local fire sprinkler opponents. Now
is the time to bolster laws that will lead to safer homes for future generations.”

Earlier this year, the six-year-old girl and her family moved into their Plainfield
home. Had the home followed requirements found in all U.S. model building codes when
it was built earlier this year, it should have included fire sprinklers. This
technology can reduce the risk of dying in home fires by 80 percent, according to
NFPA.

However, Connecticut’s code-making body has decided not to adopt this requirement
each time it has updated the state building code since 2010. Similarly, legislative
bills that would have required fire sprinklers in new homes have been defeated with
help from local fire sprinkler opponents. These opponents, mainly the Home Builders
& Remodelers Association of Connecticut, claim this technology is burdensome, not
necessary, and expensive—all myths countered by solid research.

At today’s event, a side-by-side fire demonstration using two identical structures
underscored how quickly fire spreads in homes and how rapidly home fire sprinklers
can extinguish fires. Moreover, the local fire service once again urged state
decision makers to pass a requirement to fire sprinkler all new homes following the
recent tragedy. Backing this requirement is the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler
Coalition, which was formed in 2014 to educate the public and state’s decision
makers on how this technology can successfully combat the state’s home fire problem.

Connecticut law requires homebuilders to offer fire sprinklers as an option to
homebuyers, but state fire officials say this option doesn’t go far enough to
protect lives.

The Connecticut Coalition is part of a grassroots movement aimed at eliminating home
fire deaths and injuries. There are now 30 state sprinkler coalitions addressing
America’s home fire problem. Eighty percent of all U.S. fire deaths each year, for
instance, still occur at home, according to NFPA.

“Fire sprinklers are virtually commonplace in every other setting except the place
where fire causes the most injury and death,” Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president
of Outreach and Advocacy, said at today’s event. “States and communities across the
country have seen the successes of creating requirements for fire sprinklering new
homes. Connecticut, too, can make a significant improvement in its home fire problem
by requiring fire sprinklers, which research proves can be a cost-effective addition
to new homes.”

For more information on the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition, visit
FireSprinklerInitiative.org/Connecticut.

About the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition
The Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition is dedicated to promoting home fire
sprinklers. The coalition actively works to educate stakeholder groups on home fire
sprinklers and collaborates with key state fire service organizations to address and
overcome barriers to fire sprinkler requirements for new homes.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating
death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related
hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300
consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy;
and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission.
For more information visitwww.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed
online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.