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Long Beach : High-Rise Sprinkler Proposal Put on Hold

Caught between conflicting pressures, a Long Beach City Council committee has temporarily shelved a proposal to require owners of older high-rises to equip them with automatic fire sprinkler systems.

Instead, the Public Safety Committee is asking the city staff to recommend other ways of reducing the fire hazard in high-rise residential and commercial buildings constructed before 1977, when sprinkler systems became mandatory.

City staff members have argued strongly that the 37 high-rises in Long Beach without automatic sprinklers should have them. But occupants of residential high-rises in particular have protested that it would be prohibitively expensive to install sprinklers. They also have complained that sprinkler pipes and fixtures would leave their apartments looking like basements.

Although state sprinkler requirements for high-rises were vetoed by the governor last year, committee members said there is talk of reviving the legislation. Rather than sending the proposed local requirements on to the full council for consideration, the committee decided to wait and see what happens on the state level.

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