Mere weeks after a high-rise fire whipped through the Grenfell Tower in London, killing dozens of people in the process, another high-rise fire struck Honolulu, Hawaii. Although there weren’t as many casualties as the Grenfell Tower fire, the tragedies had something in common: both residential buildings lacked fire sprinklers.
It’s reported that the Grenfell Tower did not have sprinklers because not only would it would have delayed last year’s renovation process, but it would have been more costly to the renovators and the residents. As for the Marco Polo high-rise in Honolulu, the building was constructed in 1971, before the city mandated fire sprinklers in all newly constructed buildings. Because of a loophole in this measure, many buildings in Honolulu weren’t required to install sprinklers in buildings that were constructed before the law was passed.
Now, the topic of fire safety and fire regulations have come to the attention of millions of residents and lawmakers across the country. Because believe it or not, there are still quite a few residential buildings in cities all across the United States that don’t have this safety measure — including New York.
Reasons often cited are cost and time constraints. But with the tragedy from Grenfell and Honolulu, is it time to re-evaluate these measures and mandate that all buildings, regardless of when they were built, should be fitted with sprinkler systems?