Local News in Brief : Anaheim : City OKs Strict Law on Building Sprinklers

The City Council on Tuesday night approved Orange County’s strictest fire-sprinkler ordinance for older, high-rise buildings.

The new ordinance, to take effect Jan. 1, 1992, requires all existing buildings 55 feet high or higher to have sprinkler systems. Twelve buildings, including two 11-story towers at the Disneyland Hotel, are affected by the ordinance.

Under current city law, all buildings of 55 feet or more constructed after 1974 had to have sprinklers.

Anaheim Fire Chief Jeff Bowman proposed extending the ordinance for high-rise buildings built before 1974 after the devastating fire last May at the First Interstate Bank building in Los Angeles. That fire killed one person and caused more than $300 million in damage.


In a presentation last week, Bowman told the City Council that if a similar fire had occurred in an Anaheim high-rise without sprinklers, “I guarantee you that building would have been a shell.”

Under the city’s new ordinance, building owners must file a plan of compliance within a year. A provision allows owners facing prohibitive expenses for the retrofitting, such as asbestos removal, to seek a delay or exemption.