March 12, 2015 – Just two-and-a-half months after a fatal fire killed eight senior citizens in the Wedgwood residential high-rise in Castle Hills, Texas Representative Rick Galindo has filed a bill to prevent similar tragedies. HB 3089 would require all residential high-rise buildings in Texas to be fully retrofitted with fire sprinklers by September 1, 2021. Rep. Galindo’s response to the tragedy aims to ensure similar buildings in Texas install the life-saving technology of fire sprinklers in order to prevent future deaths.
Common Voices, an advocates’ coalition supporting people impacted by the ravages of fire, extends its support to the families of those lost in the tragic Wedgwood fire in Castle Hills, Texas, and to those who survived. The organization hopes those survivors will join to champion Rep. Galindo’s bill.
“These tragic events are preventable. Even if a fire starts, technology exists and current codes should be in place to make sure people don’t die and that they aren’t physically and emotionally scarred for life,” explains Common Voices advocate and Houston resident Justina Page, who lost her 22-month-old son in a fire in 1999. “Why do we have to have tragedy after tragedy when we know what can solve our fire problem? Fire sprinklers are needed today.”
“Too many people are dying in Texas because of fire, but HB 3089 can help reverse that course and save lives,” adds Page. “I thank Representative Galindo for his goal to save lives from fire.”
Flashover, the point where everything in a room ignites in flames, can occur in three minutes or less. Fire sprinklers stop a fire while it is small, preventing flashover and keeping a fire from spreading.
“To say that we are grateful to Representative Galindo is an understatement. We need more policymakers to understand the important role that codes play in keeping citizens safe,” says Vickie Pritchett, facilitator of Common Voices. “Our hope is that this legislation will pass, and communities where these high-rise buildings exist will become safer as fire sprinklers are installed. We owe this to those who live in unprotected residential high-rise buildings. We can prevent additional headlines like Wedgwood.”
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.