Death of elderly couple in fire underscores need for home sprinklers

Friday, June 27, 2014

ORLAND PARK, Ill.—An elderly couple died in a house fire one month after a local board voted to omit a sprinkler requirement in new construction, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter.

The Illinois couple, one of whom had mobility issues and used an oxygen tank, was unable to escape in time, according to local media. Older adults are among groups most at risk of fire death and injury, the newsletter said.

“This fire is a tragic reminder of the need for fire sprinklers in homes," Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, based here, said in a prepared statement.

The newsletter said the incident occurred in Will County, where a month earlier a board opted to adopt the 2012 International Residential Code but nixed its requirements for sprinklers in one- and two-family homes, the newsletter said. All model building codes include this provision.