Nursing home says it has enough sprinklers

SSN Staff  - 
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

VIRGINIA, Minn.--In a case that National Fire Sprinkler Association regional manager Dave Bowman expects will "be quickly settled with a compromise," a nursing home owner has challenged the state fire marshal's office about whether more sprinklers are needed in his facility.
According to the Messabi Daily News, Jeff Brown, administrator of the Virginia Convalescent Center, told the fire marshal's office he won't install the $75,000 to $100,000 worth of extra sprinkler heads that the state says he needs.
Neither Brown nor Minnesota Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl immediately returned calls requesting comment. However, the local report quoted Brown as saying that his facility is fully sprinklered and in compliance with codes. This would be a test case, he said, for the nursing home industry that would help bring more clarity to sprinkler requirements.
After a June inspection, the state said that Brown needed to install 232 additional sprinkler heads in wardrobe closets, which Brown described as free-standing furniture and not built-in closets.
Codes have not changed since a previous inspection when Brown's facility was given approval from the fire marshal.
After two costly fires in nursing homes in recent years in this region, stringent sprinkler requirements and required retrofitting have become fairly widespread here, Bowman said.