In June, Grenfell Tower in London burst into flame and burnt for hours, partly due to the combustible, and widely used, cladding on the building’s exterior. The authorities in London expect the final death toll for the fire to be 80, but are still identifying the dead. Friday night, an apartment complex in Hawaii experienced a similar fire (with far fewer lost lives) in a building with no sprinkler system.
According to the Honolulu Fire Department three people are dead and 12 were injured at the Marco Polo apartments after a fire broke out Friday afternoon. The victims were found on the 26th floor, though the fire stretched to the 28th, and authorities said the number could go up. The building was constructed in 1971, before sprinkler systems were required.
“Without a doubt if there were sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin,” said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins:
The fire raged for about four hours with witness inside the building reporting smoky conditions and blown out windows across about a dozen floors, though some inside the building were not forced to evacuated. Outside the building, chunks of concrete and glass fell to the streets below:
In response to the fire, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said the city needs to pass a law that calls for older buildings to be retrofitted with sprinklers.
“The biggest argument is the affordability,” Caldwell said. “Residents have to pay. It’s pretty expensive. But if it saves a life and it’s your life, it’s worth the cost.”
(Via CBS News)