OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oakland, California experienced a tragic fire that has resulted in multiple fatalities. Early reports indicate that a music party was taking place in a multi-use warehouse type building. The fire chief confirmed that the building did not have fire sprinklers.
"It saddens us to see more tragedies in these high-risk occupancies that need fire sprinklers," said NFSA President Shane Ray. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected in this tragedy in Oakland. We pledge our continued support for the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, which provides business owners an incentive to retrofit with fire sprinklers – the one technology that could extinguish the fire."
While all the details will be forthcoming in the days to come, as the California Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) team, along with other agencies, works the incident, many advocates are already calling for help from policy makers.
"These tragedies do not have to happen," said Rob Feeney, a survivor of the 2003 Station Nightclub Fire. "Enough is enough, it's time to pass the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. How many people have to die before we wake up and do something that will keep people safe?"
The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (FSIA) S.2068 and H.R. 3591 in the 114th Congress, will be filed again in the 115th Congress. The legislation encourages building owners to invest in life-saving fire safety upgrades, including fire sprinklers. The FSIA strengthens tax incentives for building owners to install fire sprinkler retrofits that can save many lives and countless dollars in property loss from fires every year. The FSIA reclassifies fire sprinkler retrofits as 15-year depreciable property, allowing businesses to receive tax benefits more quickly.
Under the current legislation, automatic sprinklers could be treated as Section 179 property under the tax code. Section 179 allows small and medium-sized businesses to write off the full cost of equipment purchases, up to $125,000, in a single year. While automatic fire sprinklers are not currently classified as a Section 179 property, passage of the legislation would allow property owners to retrofit a large majority of high fire risk properties, such as certain off campus housing, night clubs, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The original legislation was introduced in 2004 following the tragic nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island that claimed 100 lives. Since then, the legislation has been reintroduced in subsequent Congresses with various changes made to address concerns raised by members of Congress regarding cost estimates. The current legislation has addressed those concerns.
"Personally, I am saddened that this could happen in California where we have such a solid foothold in our State regarding the use of Fire Sprinklers and strong code enforcement for fire and life-safety," said Bruce Lecair, NFSA Associate Director of Field Operations who lives in California. "I feel even more committed to see the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act move through Congress, so we can include retrofit of these occupancies with the addition of fire sprinklers and an incentive for the building owners."
NFSA wants to create a more fire safe world, and works to heighten the awareness of the importance of fire sprinkler systems from homes to high-rise and all occupancies in between. The Association is an inclusive organization made up of dedicated and committed members of a progressive life-saving industry. This industry manufactures, designs, supplies, installs, inspects, and services the world's most effective system in saving lives and property from uncontrolled structural fires. "There has never been a multiple fatality fire like this in a building with properly installed, tested and maintained fire sprinklers system," said NFSA President Shane Ray.
For more information about the National Fire Sprinkler Association, visit www.nfsa.org and follow us via our social media presence on Twitter (@NFSAorg), Linked In (National Fire Sprinkler Association), and Facebook (Natfiresprinkler).
CONTACT: Vickie Pritchett
SOURCE National Fire Sprinkler Association