Fire department concerned with sprinkler laws

Fire department concerned with...

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Area fire departments are concerned after state officials say they can't enforce a regulation requiring sprinklers in certain apartment buildings.

Earlier this week, the Department of Safety and Professional Services determined a rule stating new apartment complexes with 3 to 20 units have to have sprinkler systems can't be enforced because it's stricter than state law, which only requires sprinklers in buildings with more than 20 units.

The La Crosse Fire Department says that's concerning to them, since sprinklers can save lives and keep fires at bay until they can get on scene, especially these days when newer buildings are built with lighter materials.

"Today, if a building isn't sprinklered and it's got lightweight construction, it may be too far gone before you even get on scene, so it's more important today than it was 30 to 40 years ago," said Division Chief Jeff Murphy.

The Wisconsin Builders Association has opposed the sprinkler rule because it increases construction costs.

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