Honolulu -- The Honolulu City Council has postponed needed actions to move a bill forward that would require fire sprinklers in older high-rise buildings. Recently, a 36-story high-rise fire killed three people in Honolulu. The high-rise did not have fire sprinklers.
Council members made the decision to wait for more information from the Honolulu Fire Department before making a decision. They did, however, hear from apartment owners on fixed budgets who said they would rather live with the risks than pay to retrofit fire sprinklers.
Councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine is concerned about the homeless population and the possibility that it could increase if homeowners can't afford to retrofit. "My concern is we have some of the highest homeless population per capita, and it's never a good thing if we have a government mandate on people. So how can we solve this problem that we all agree needs to be solved without hurting people?"
Right now, Honolulu has a law that fire sprinklers need to be installed in all buildings built after 1975. To approve the bill that would add fire sprinklers to newer builds, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to find a way to make fire sprinklers more affordable to low-income homeowners.