Illinois Fire Marshall withdraws proposed sprinkler rule


A proposed rule by Illinois Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis regarding residential sprinkler system was withdrawn Fri, Aug. 2. The rule required owners of older residential high-rises to install sprinklers and all new single family homes and other residential building construction to include sprinkler systems. In addition when more than half a home or residential buildings was being renovated, a sprinkler system was to be installed. 

"I am officially withdrawing the proposed rule before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to take into account substantial public comment and carefully re-examine this issue," Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis said in a written statement."It's become clear that any proposed state rule needs additional refinement." 

As reported in Firehouse, "The move came after thousands of residents wrote letters, called and visited the offices of their local legislators to lobby against the proposed stricter fire safety rules. It also came after a heated town hall meeting in which representatives from the fire marshal's office were ridiculed and interrogated about the proposed regulations." 


Alderman Fioretti

"The truth is, Chicago's comprehensive fire regulations are working. Fire related deaths have fallen from 185 in 1980 to 28 in 2012," says 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti,"These rules, if instituted, would have been an economic disaster for Chicago, placing an unnecessary burden on property owners and tenants alike, and creating an overall drain on our local economy." 

While a great deal of the push back came from condo and high-rise owners, estimated costs given seemed to have varied widely. 

Fioretti pointed to a Princeton University study from 2005 which estimated the cost as much as $29,000 per one bedroom apartment, including demolition and construction. But NBC's Phil Roger's reported that they hired U.S. Fire Protection to do an estimate for such renovation at 6145 N. Sheridan. 

According to that estimate, the $1.7 million cost would have worked out to $8.90 per square foot.



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