NFPA committee goes to Pa.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

BELLEFONTE, Pa.--The National Fire Protection Association committee working on NFPA 914, a code that governs the protection of historic buildings, will travel here Dec. 5-7 to check out the extensive historic district and talk to activists who formed the Bellefonte Preservation and Fire Protection Task Force.
The NFPA committee is considering expanding the code for the protection of historic buildings to include the protection of historic districts, said Tim Knisely, former Bellefonte fire chief. "Nick [Artim] came here to speak to our committee about fire safety in historic buildings and he was fascinated by the town and type of buildings we have here and he thought it would be a great setting for the committee to come in and see," he said.
Bellefonte has more than 100 historic buildings, very few of which have adequate fire protection. It's also had its share of fires. After a February 2006 blaze destroyed the historic Bush house, Knisely and borough manager Ralph Stewart formed the local task force, which includes a structural engineer; fire protection engineer; a code specialist from the state; George Church, owner of Rowe Sprinkler in Middleburg, Penn.; fire alarm contractor Larry Miles of Vigilant Security in State College, Penn.; and Chip Aiken, chair of the Bellefonte safety committee. (Search "Penn. Borough reacts to loss of historic property" at www.securitysystemsnews.com.) Knisley said he and the NFPA group will tour the town and meet with the local task force the first day and then hold their own committee meeting here.
"We have lots of fresh fire data," Knisley said on Nov. 2. "There was a fire yesterday [which fortunately was brought under control before extensive damage was done]."