3 Dead in Hawaii High-Rise Fire, No Sprinklers

3 Dead in Hawaii High-Rise Fire, No Sprinklers
July 16, 2017 -

Hawaii, a place we associate with beautiful weather, palm trees, and surfing. However, this weekend it made headlines for another reason-a devastating high-rise fire that killed three and injured a dozen more.

The massive fire broke out last Friday afternoon in a unit on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo Apartments, where all three victims were found. More than 100 firefighters worked for hours to evacuate the building and extinguish the flames. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, one thing has become clear: the high-rise apartment building did not have fire sprinklers installed, which most likely would have prevented the fire from spreading.

The 36-story, 538-unit apartment building was built in 1971, just three years before the fire code was updated to require sprinkler systems in high-rises. Fire Chief Manuel Neves told CNN, "Without a doubt, if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin."

This all comes just one month after the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London, in which more than 80 residents perished during the massive blaze. Unfortunately, this building did not have fire sprinklers either.

What can we learn from both of these tragedies? Fire safety needs to be taken more seriously and everyone needs to realize the fires can happen anywhere at anytime. The need for fire sprinklers in high-rise apartment buildings is especially important. Only a handful of states require building owners to retrofit existing buildings with sprinklers, leaving the majority of the country in danger. It's time for building owners to realize the cost of fire sprinklers is worth it and that sprinklers save lives every single day by giving residents enough time to escape safely.

Let's not let these headlines repeat themselves again. Look around your home or apartment. Does it have fire sprinklers? If not, install them or demand your property owner does so. Call Viking Automatic Sprinkler Co. today at 651-558-3300 or visit our website for more information.

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