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Firefighters Testify in Favor of MD House Bill to Strengthen Construction Safety Standards

March 9th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Supporters of legislation that would significantly improve the safety of multi-unit residential housing structures testified yesterday on behalf of House Bill 1472. The bill would restrict the use of lightweight combustible building materials in the construction of multi-family residences in areas of high population density.

 

“We are proud to support legislation that protects Maryland families from natural disasters and fires,” said Kevin Sullivan, Deputy Fire Chief, City of Annapolis in written testimony submitted to the committee. “This bill will have a direct impact on the safety of Marylanders and the first responders charged with protecting families and communities.”

 

A number of large-scale apartment fires across the country have highlighted the need for this legislation in Maryland. A five-alarm fire in Edgewater, New Jersey, destroyed a 408-unit apartment building in January, 2015. The Edgewater fire chief said that the building’s construction materials aided the fire’s spread, fueling a fast-moving and very destructive fire.

 

Also testifying in support of the bill was the Hon. Cynthia A. Carter, formerly of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis.  “Our work is dedicated to helping people find affordable housing. Just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it has to be cheap.  All housing must be safe, and this legislation goes a long way in addressing a potentially deadly situation,” said Carter.

 

Dr. Sharon Styles Anderson, Esq. of Renaissance Properties, LLC noted that “there are safer more durable building alternatives, such as concrete that will better protect people living and working in the structures covered by this legislation,” said Anderson.  Concrete’s durability and resilience were cited as factors making it a better building alternative for the types of structures addressed by HB 1472.

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