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After Barrington Plaza Fire, Should All Residential High-Rises In LA Be Retrofitted With Sprinklers?




People stand outside the building after a fire at Barrington Plaza on January 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
People stand outside the building after a fire at Barrington Plaza on January 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

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After last week’s fire in the Westside high-rise Barrington Plaza, some Los Angeles Councilmembers are proposing that all residential high rise buildings be retrofitted with fire sprinklers. 

Most apartments already require sprinklers, but an exemption for high-rises constructed between 1943 and 1974 means that about 55 buildings in L.A. city aren’t up to current fire code, Barrington Plaza among them. 

Apartment owners have expressed concerns about the costs of retrofitting. Without government assistance, they say these costs could be passed along to renters. 

The motion gestures towards looking into state and local funding sources to help cover the costs. 

We take a closer look at the motion.

Guests:

Robert Solomon, fire protection engineer with the National Fire Protection Association, a global nonprofit focused on eliminating death, injuries and economic loss due to fire hazards; he tweets @robertsolomonPE  

Dan Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, an organization advocating for multifamily owners, managers, developers and suppliers in the city and county of Los Angeles