July 15, 2017 – Yesterday’s tragic high-rise fire is a sombering reminder that high-rise buildings without fire sprinklers place occupants and firefighters at great risk. 3 people are confirmed dead and over 15 injured in a 5-alarm fire that started on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo building.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), Common Voices, and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and all those we represent sends our heartfelt sorrow to the victims and survivors of this tragic fire as well as the firefighters who had to face the challenges and trauma of such an incident. It is our hope that all Hawaii policy makers learn from this fire and work toward fire sprinkler retrofit legislation to ensure that it won’t happen again.
“We hope the reminder provided in this fire will encourage Honolulu to stand with America’s fire service and citizens alike and pursue high-rise fire sprinkler retrofit requirements,” adds Chief Ron Siarnicki, NFFF Executive Director. “Firefighter and citizen lives will be saved as a result of a proactive decision that supports the NFFF Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, specifically Initiative 15. We need more policy makers that understand how life safety does impact quality of life, as well as preserving life.”
“As a survivor of the Station Nightclub Fire, I understand the fire problem in America better than most,” explains Rob Feeney, a fire safety advocate for Common Voices and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. “I lost friends and loved ones in that fire and it amazes me that we don’t have laws that can prevent this from happening again by requiring fire sprinklers. My hope is that everyone will see what happened in Honolulu and unite to retrofit these high-rise buildings with fire sprinklers.”
“We should not see pictures, videos, and read stories of fire in buildings like this or a single family home in America,” adds Tim Sendelbach, Editor in Chief of Firehouse Magazine, who spent a very successful career in several fire departments. “We have known for over 30 years what the solution to the problem is and we have recently learned that the problem is getting worse, as shown by these tragedies.” Federal legislation (S.602 & H.R. 1481), filed in the 115th Congress, would provide incentives to owners to retrofit with fire sprinklers. This legislation is what America is all about, a public/private partnership that keeps citizens and firefighters safe while saving businesses money. Hopefully, America’s congressional leaders will realize that this legislation can help prevent tragedies like those that happened last week in London.
For more details about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Life Safety Initiatives, please visit www.firehero.org. NFFF was created by Congress to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, non-profit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor our fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers.
About Common Voices: Common Voices (www.fireadvocates.org) is an advocates’ coalition of members who all have been directly affected by fire. By bringing their voices together, they hope to educate others regarding fire and its devastating impact. Their mission is to create a fire-safe America by sharing their stories, creating resources that educate and sharing fire statistics. About Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors: Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the leading non-profit organization helping burn survivors meet their challenges with the community support and tools they need to thrive again, and to ensure that no survivor ever has to make that journey alone. Working with survivors, families, healthcare professionals, fire service professionals, we are uniting the voice of the burn community across the globe to profoundly advance lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn prevention. www.phoenix-society.org
For more information about fire sprinklers, how they work and access to additional resources and information, visit www.nfsa.org for the latest material, statistics, and a dedicated team of fire safety advocates ready to serve all stakeholders in order to fulfill the vision of a safer world.