Costly Codes Won't Save Homes in Fire

* As Canyon Acres residents and victims of the October Laguna Beach firestorm, we take issue with your editorial (Laguna's Lingering Fire Trouble, March 3), which chastised the Laguna Beach City Council for not approving a new, restrictive and costly fire code for those rebuilding.

We remind The Times that the kind of building materials in homes had nothing at all to do with them burning in the raging inferno. Structures made of stucco and aluminum siding burned just as quickly as those make of wood.

Canyon Acres residents have nicely survived some six normal fires since 1972, but we couldn't withstand a blazing, wind-swept firestorm. Buildings built with stringent, fire-resistant regulations will also quickly succumb to a future firestorm.

The overriding concern, however, is that several fire victims cannot rebuild at all if saddled with high-cost restrictions. The little guys, with no extra money for expensive code upgrades, would become victims again, this time of well-meaning but unnecessary bureaucracy.

The city should focus on hillside fuel modification and a more efficient defense plan for the Fire Department to combat any future inferno.

The Laguna Beach City Council is to be highly commended for responding to the personal and financial needs of devastated fire victims rather than penalizing them with costly and burdensome regulations.

JAY & NIKKI GRANT

MARK & BEVERLY BLUMENFELD

Laguna Beach

The letter was also signed by four other residents.

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