Meeting Fire Code - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Meeting Fire Code

When the Norma apartment building caught fire last month it wasn't just residents that had to be evacuated. Employees from nearby businesses also headed to the streets to watch the flames.

"I'm in the bathroom and she goes well you got to come up and leave, the building is on fire. I'm like what? Our building is on fire? And she's like no the building across the street and I'm like Oh, thank God," says Mike Anhalt.

No one was hurt in that fire but some residents were concerned that the building didn't have a sprinkler system.

But the Bismarck Fire Marshal says it wasn't a requirement.

"At the time that the code was enforced, when those structures were being built that's the safety requirements that were being enforced at that time," says Ron Kunda.

He says some newer requirements such as having smoke detectors in the buildings, need to be fulfilled, even in those older units.

But others, like adding a sprinkler system, can be costly and difficult to install, so the building owner isn't required to add it.

"Not that that's a reason for not doing it but again it's dependent on how the building was built and the materials that were used in it," says Kunda.

Newer buildings and those under construction are built with sprinkler systems.

But for Anhalt, who lives in an older complex, he's concerned his building may not have them.

"I'm not sure if ours has them either because ours is kind of an older building too. Not nearly as old as this one but I think it was 70's or something like that when it was originally built. I mean it's still a hazard no matter what."

The fire department says approximately 60% of apartment units in Bismarck do NOT have sprinkler systems.

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