New legislation requires public high rises to have sprinkler systems

Black fire damage can be seen from a window of the high rise apartment.
A scene from the high rise apartment fire at Cedar High Apartments in November 2019. Now, public housing buildings seven stories or taller have 10 years to install fire sprinklers.
Christine Nguyen | MPR News 2019

Several of Minnesota’s elected officials gathered Friday afternoon to honor the five victims of a 2019 high rise public housing fire at Cedar High Apartments, which lacked a fire suppression sprinkler system. The gathering also marks the new legislation requiring fire suppression sprinklers in public housing high rise apartments of seven stories or taller.

DFL state Sen. Kari Dziedzic says coming into compliance will be expensive and that 41 buildings in Minneapolis are now subject to the new regulation, as well as other public housing buildings across the state.

“We specifically tailored the bill to public housing because public housing qualifies for building, so we felt that was fair that they have a source of funding to get help to pay for it,” she said.

Under the new law, management of high-rise public housing buildings will have 10 years to install fire sprinklers.

Dziedzic says the bill will save lives, especially in buildings that house people with mobility issues.

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