The last fatal home fire we’re aware of in Douglas County was Sept. 19, 2010, and claimed the life of a Topaz Ranch Estates resident living in a mobile home.
We’re aware that the main push against the sprinkler ordinance is coming from the building community. Those who’ve spoken publicly encouraged county commissioners to overturn the ordinance have been quite clear that the issue is economic for them. However, we suggest commissioners listen just as closely to the actual people who have to extinguish those blazes.
For firefighters, the issue isn’t just economic, it’s a question of safety.
Running into a burning building to make sure no one’s inside is not for the faint of heart. Doing so without an adequate water supply is even more so. There are lots of places in the district where people have built homes where there isn’t a significant source of water, which means firefighters have to bring their own.
Both the Numbers and Tamarack fires saw significant losses in Douglas County, and sprinklers wouldn’t have done a thing to stop either of those.
A sprinkler system is the firefighter in your house and more importantly it’s the firefighter that keeps your house from starting a fire that burns down your neighbor’s house.
Building a home more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant is a choice, just as building a home on the side of a mountain or in the middle of a piñon forest is a choice. Those choices affect things besides whether the people who made them have to pay more to build those homes.
Just because commissioners may repeal the requirement doesn’t mean that it won’t return in the same or perhaps even more stringent form. Both Douglas County’s fire district boards believe they have the authority to enact regulations requiring sprinklers.
Maybe it’s for the best that the fire districts enact their own requirements dealing with their area of expertise to ensure some consistency.