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WAAY 31 looks into fire sprinklers at apartment complexes

State fire codes requires apartments to have sprinklers in each unit but only if they're built after 2003.

Posted: Oct 25, 2018 6:57 PM

WAAY 31 dug deeper into the fire at Huntsville apartment complex that left several families homeless. State fire codes requires apartments to have sprinklers in each unit but only if they're built after 2003.

Waay 31 looked into whether Colonial Grand Apartments have sprinklers and if other fire safety measures worked. 

The assistant fire marshal said he believes the building was built in the 80's which means it's not required to have sprinklers. People who live in the burned units said the smoke detectors worked during the fire yesterday, but the fact this isn't the first fire at the complex has them raising their eyebrows.

"It is odd. I mean there's no way to not start thinking that there's something odd there. I think it's the second or third one in a few years in the same row of apartments are pretty close," said Bobby Houlditch who lost both of his dogs in the fire.

Houlditch is referring to a fire at colonial grand apartments last year on Black Friday. The building that burned in that fire is right next door to the one that burned down yesterday. Leading up to the fire though Houlditch said the apartment ownership stayed on top of safety measures.

"They just changed out the fire extinguishers this last week and they just cleaned the chimney on Monday...my chimney on Monday." His neighbor, Brittney Yarbrough agreed, "We were good and up to date on our fire stuff."

WAAY 31 reached out to the apartment complex to see if the buildings have sprinkler systems that would help during a fire. They said they are not commenting at this time but a captain with the Huntsville Fire Department said there were no sprinklers.

The assistant fire marshall said the code can't be enforced on structures that were built prior to the code being put in place. Once Colonial Grand rebuilds this building it will be required to have a sprinkler system. He said the other buildings that have caught fire in the past should have sprinkler systems installed in them. 

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