Minneapolis DFL lawmakers to push for fire sprinklers in high-rises

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A man in a gray suit speaks at a podium, five people stand behind him.
State Rep. Mohamud Noor said he’s introducing legislation to require automatic fire sprinklers in high rise buildings, following a fire that killed five people in his Minneapolis district in November.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Two Minneapolis lawmakers are introducing legislation to require fire sprinklers in all high-rise residential buildings.

DFL Sen. Kari Dziedzic and DFL Rep. Mohamud Noor represent the neighborhood where a public housing high-rise fire killed five people in November.

The Cedar High Apartments building was constructed before sprinkler systems were required.

Dziedzic said more than a dozen public housing high-rises in the city lack fire sprinklers, since they were built before a previous building code requirement that took effect in 1979.

“These are critical life safety maintenance repairs and upgrades that are needed to keep the people in public housing and other buildings safe,” Dzedzic said. “We don't need anybody else to die. We can do this.”

The legislation applies to all residential buildings 75 feet or higher and would require fully-operational sprinklers by Aug. 1, 2032.

Minneapolis officials say retrofitting public housing buildings could cost $1 million each. But Rep. Noor said the deadly fire shows the time has come to require sprinklers.

“This is the time that we have to stand up and to be able to assure everyone that you are going to have a place in Minnesota, in a home that you will feel safe,” Noor said.