Opposition to Home Sprinklers

Created: 02/12/2014 7:05 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- There are new guidelines to help prevent residential fires. Although each state can tweak the language, it's recommended that newly built, large homes have sprinkler systems installed.

"The place where we live is the single most unsafe occupancy," said Tom Brace with the Minnesota State Fire Chief's Association back in October. It's that reason why those with the MSFCA want new, larger homes to be equipped with sprinklers.

"It's not needed. It’s expensive and unnecessary," said John Eischen with Rochester Area Builders. He says they supported having inter-connected smoke detectors pass in '03. A code that makes them all of them go off at once. "Since that, there has not been one singe residential death in a single family home in Minnesota since the code has been in place," said Eischen.

He says requiring sprinklers in homes at least 45-hundred square feet is just asking too much and it won't be cheap. "Absolutely, up to $14,000," said Eischen. Not to mention, even more costs if they malfunction like during bitter cold Minnesota winters  "This winter with all the sprinkler systems freezing, and bursting, and water damage, that's going to happen in residential homes. They then need to be inspected annually," said Eischen.

However, those with the MSFCA say you can’t put a price tag on safety. “To protect life, and property, and also help assist our fire service and firefighters in residences," said Brace.

Governor Dayton seems to agree with them. "We've had legislation in place that was passed bipartisan in the House and Senate to not allow fire sprinklers in single-family homes and it was vetoed twice by the governor," said Eischen.

The 4,500 square feet would also include homes with unfinished basements but would not include garages. This of course is just a proposal in the works and it hasn't yet been approved.