Fox 9 Staff
In the wake of a deadly high-rise apartment fire in Minneapolis, Minnesota, senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith are reaching out Department of Housing Urban Development on how to encourage the installation of sprinkler systems in older public housing properties.
Last month, a fire broke out at a 25-story apartment building in the Cedar-Riverside neighboorhood, killing five people and injuring four others. The cause of the fire remains undetermined.
Minneapolis officials say the building had "partial sprinkler coverage," but the rest of the building, including the upper floors where the fire broke out, did not. Since the high-rise was built in 1969, it was exempt from the federal law passed in 1992 that required automatic sprinklers in multifamily public housing properties.
In a letter to HUD, the senators are asking how the department plans to address retrofitting its properties with sprinkler systems.
"Fire sprinkler systems are widely recognized as an essential element of fire safety and properly installed sprinklers on all floors of the building may have mitigated the devastation caused by this fire," wrote the senators.
As the MPHA has limited funding for such improvements, the senators requested HUD leaders look into whether it could allocate future funding to address the maintanence needs.