The San Antonio Express News reports today [http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Another-lawsuit-filed-in-fatal-high-rise-fire-6029997.php] that more lawsuits have been filed against the management company and owners of the Wedgwood Senior Living apartments, the high-rise in Castle Hills, Tx where a fatal fire took the lives of six residents last month and injured many more.
Twenty-six lawsuits have been filed to date. There were 216 residents living at Wedgwood at the time of the fire, so you would suspect the lawsuits have just started.
This story is creating shockwaves everywhere because the 11-story building was grandfathered from having to have a fire sprinkler system.
Fire sprinklers would have most likely would have prevented this tragedy. Fire sprinklers stop fire flashover, which usually occurs in three minutes or less. In an effective, well-designed fire sprinkler system, each sprinkler is individually activated by heat, only the sprinkler closest to the fire goes off. This gives occupants time to escape, which is especially important in senior housing facilities. National statistics prove that older adults and people with disabilities are at higher risk of dying in a fire. Remember, your automatic fire sprinkler system is on the job 24/7/365 to protect lives and give residents peace of mind.
Here in Texas we are waiting to see how the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) addresses the Castle Hills fire and the issue of grandfathering fire sprinkler systems to certain buildings. You can see on the DADS website LINK HERE,
they have very clear-cut rules and regulations for fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems in assisted living facilities in Texas. DADS safety regulations state that assisted-living facilities in Texas must have a written contract with a fire protection sprinkler company that has been issued a Sprinkler Certificate of Registration (SCR) from the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office to perform the required services semi-annually.
If you are an owner or management organization operating senior living facilities, talk to Crisp-LaDew about your fire sprinkler system and designing and implementing a reoccurring maintenance program to keep your buildings safe and code compliant.