by April Baker
Posted: 04.24.2014 at 12:12 AM
Fire sprinklers could have saved lives in the two deadly fires that happened on the Grand Strand over the weekend, according to Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Inspector Gary Mocarski.
He said neither of the residential units that burned had a fire sprinkler system.
"If the condo had had sprinklers there would be two more people alive today. I am 99 or more percent certain," Mocarski said.
A second fire broke out at a single-family home on Calhoun Drive in Garden City on Sunday. Again, there were two deaths in that fire.
"They would have had water flowing. They would have had a fire sprinkler going off and increase their chances of survival or at least their chances of staying put until they were rescued," said Mocarski.
Mocarski said when these two residential units were built, the law didn't require them to have fire sprinklers.
Since then, the state's law has changed, at least for the condo building.
The State of South Carolina adopted an International Building Code in 2003 that requires all multi-family homes to have sprinkler systems.
Single families-homes in the state built to date are not required to have sprinkler systems.
It's something Mocarski has been fighting for homes in our area to have, but there's nothing that can be done on a local level about it.
"We cannot adopt as community as a city as county anything more restrictive than what the state has. So, Horry County, Georgetown County, Murrells Inlet Garden City fire district, City of Myrtle Beach, nobody can adopt a code that says put fire sprinklers in a residence," Mocarski said.
Mocarski said he will be working to get the state's building code revised to make fire sprinklers a requirement in single-family homes.
He also encourages single-family home owners who don't have sprinkler systems to make sure their smoke detectors are working, and there is an escape plan in place.