Older Schools Not Required to Have Fire Sprinklers

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fire sprinkler contractor IllinoisLaurens, SC -- A middle school that was damaged by a fire on Monday did not have fire sprinklers.

The school was grandfathered in and was not required to have fire sprinklers retrofitted when South Carolina passed a law requiring them in all schools.

On Monday, a faulty electrical outlet caused the fire that damaged Laurens Middle School.  The fire was contained to one wing of the building.

The building was built in 1955, and the law went into effect in 2007.  Because of this, Laurens Middle School was not required to install fire sprinklers.

"If it's an existing school building, unless there's some extensive renovations or a new facility, if it's a place as is, it's not required they go back and install the sprinkler systems," said Easley Fire Marshal Brad Owens.  "There are some exceptions [to the school fire sprinkler law] based on square footage.  Also, if the shcool has direct exits from each classroom."

Local families are not happy about the lack of fire sprinklers in the school.

Karen Hall, a mother of a boy that goes to Laurens Middle School said, "We need to make sure they are as safe as possible in any situation.  Fire is one of the situations that can occur.  We pay our taxes for them to do what they need to do in our schools for our children.  I mean, we're the ones paying for what they need to be done."