Residents escape burning condo building despite not having fire alarms

Residents escape burning condo building despite not having fire alarms | #TpromoCom #Fire #FireAlarm #LifeSafety | WEST BEND, Wis. — All residents escaped a fire at a condo complex despite there not being a fire alarm system. The fire broke out about 1:20 a.m. Friday at the building on North River Drive in West Bend.

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Editor’s Note: As a former fire technician and alarm dealership owner/manager, I fully understand the issue of fire code and the fact that landlords that build only have to maintain their buildings to the code that was in force at the time they were constructed. However, on a personal level, I often wonder if there’s a better way.

I do not advocate changing the rules as they are because a landlord should not be legally challenged to follow changes in local fire code. Every time there would be a minor change, they’d be required to adjust their units accordingly, and although that would not be a bad thing for the tenants, it would cause undo financial hardship on many of those that rent because such changes in construction would ultimately fall at the feet of all those who rent from them, and that is the way it must be.

I believe that communities share in the responsibility to find an equatable way to provide incentives to landlords who take the initiative to bring their facilities up to present day fire code. Perhaps that can be accomplished through tax breaks, or perhaps through rate adjustments on water and rubbish pickup.

Yes, it will mean compromise in that the community at large will realize a loss of revenue, but there simply must be a way to make this happen without driving landlords out of business. For all of us to sit by and criticize a landlord for not having installed fire alarms in a 1980-built condo when he followed all the rules at the time will accomplish nothing.

It’s time that all of us put some skin in the game by sharing in the solution to this ongoing problem. —Al Colombo

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