There have been 10 fire deaths in Minneapolis within the first 10 weeks of 2014.
This unprecedented statistic in Minneapolis was the catalyst that recently convened fire officials in that city in an effort to underscore fire safety, including the necessity for home fire sprinklers. A local ABC News affiliate covered the event, which included a side-by-side sprinkler demonstration. "Many of these tragedies are killing or injuring people long before the fire departments even get called," says Chief Tim Butler of the St. Paul Fire Department.
Also in attendance was George Esbensen, another Minnesota fire chief, who wrote a recent op-ed on the state's residential fire problem. "Today's new home is tomorrow's 40-year-old home," he tells ABC News. "In all of these homes where these people have died, if they have been sprinklered when they were built, those people would be alive."
An administrative law judge in Minnesota recently ruled that the state can order builders to install sprinkler systems in new, single-family homes more than 4,500 square feet. Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry anticipates an effective date of Fall 2014, if Governor Mark Dayton approves the measure.
Watch the following video for more information on this developing story.