AUSTIN, TX - After close collaboration with the San Antonio Fire Chief and conversations with families tragically affected by high-rise fires, State Representative Rick Galindo filed House Bill 3089 yesterday. This bill requires that all high-rise residential buildings install fire sprinkler safety systems by Sept. 2021 to ensure that our families and seniors are protected from deadly fires like the one that occurred last year at the Wedgewood Senior Living Apartments. Five people perished in that apartment fire, which, officials have said, would likely not have occurred had sprinklers been installed.
In San Antonio, House Bill 3089 would affect only nine buildings which, like Wedgewood, were "grandfathered" from having to install sprinklers due to their construction predating the code requirement by two decades. Five of these nine buildings primarily house senior citizens.
"This bill is about one thing: keeping our people safe," said Representative Galindo. "I have considered the costs of installing these sprinklers, but when avoidable tragedies occur in our hometown, people know the greatest cost above all is the loss of precious life."
Before the bill was crafted, several other fire safety measures were considered; however, conversations with local fire experts prompted the provisions of this bill. "If a fire breaks out in a high-rise, an alarm system or fire extinguisher would not be enough to ensure the survivability of the residents," said San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood. "The fastest response time for any fire department is a sprinkler system."
Rep. Galindo also worked closely with Common Voices, a fire safety advocacy coalition, in the crafting of the legislation. "We often take for granted the things we need most until it's too late." said Vickie Pritchett of Common Voices. "Rep. Galindo's fire sprinkler bill takes nothing for granted and truly puts safety first."
"I'd like to see a local option that solves this problem, and I'm closely monitoring that progress, but we need a state option that could get the job done as well," said Rep. Galindo. "We only have 140 days to act at the state level, and we're not going to sit back and wait for two more years to ensure people's safety when we can do it right now."
CONTACT: Joey Parr