Opinion

Codes don't prohibit higher level fire protection systems

fire protection An article on page 3 (Northlake News, Dec. 25), "Vat heater causes fire at Universal [Manufacturing}" in Woodinville, by Jeff Switzer, caught my eye.
   The last paragraph in Mr. Switzer's article stated: "The building sustained much damage, as it was without automatic fire detection or sprinklers, due to the code under which it was built, fire officials said."
   I believe the correct statement printed should have been: "The building code which was in effect at the time of the construction of the building did not require a fire detection system or automatic sprinkler systems." The code did not prohibit these fire protection systems from being installed.
   Most building codes and fire codes are only minimum standards. An owner can exceed the code or standards in the interest of better protection.
   If the company who built the building had installed additional fire detection or fire sprinklers the fire loss would have been much less.
   Some of the more recent codes require fire protection systems in the interest of not only the building owner but in the interest of less dangerous exposure to the fire department and to the adjoining property owners.
   Having been in the business of designing and approving fire protection systems for years, I am sure that the building owners would have preferred minimum losses rather than the loss which occurred.
   Many businesses which have serious fire losses find that insurance usually does not cover the loss.
   Many business owners who have had serious fires often go out of business within two years because of the interruptions to their business and loss of customers.
   I encourage all business owners to evaluate the status of their fire protection and keep it up to date.

Jack A. Marshall, F-I Consultants, Bellevue