FF: Sprinkler could've saved girl killed in fire

Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 08, 2016

A Brunswick fire official told that a sprinkler system could have saved the life of a 4-year-old girl killed in an apartment fire late Monday night. 

The fire at theHickory Hill Apartments on Beverly Hills Drive damaged 14 apartments and displaced more than 50 people

Firefighters told that a 4-year-old girl was found inside a bedroom in one of the damaged apartments. 

Assistant Fire Chief Rick Barber said the apartment had working smoke detectors but no sprinkler system. 

He said the building was constructed in the 1970s and predated Chapter 4101:1-9 of the Ohio Revised Code that required sprinkler systems.

While several states require older buildings to be retrofitted with different types of automatic sprinkler systems, Ohio does not. 

“The sprinklers are a perfect example of how we could have prevented a tragedy from happening,” Barber told 

Firefighters believed the fire may have started on the ground floor outside the building. 

Investigators have not determined an official cause of the fire but Barber said the area has had issues with fire damage from discarded cigarettes in the past. 

“Over the past 10 years there have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million in losses with improperly discarded cigarettes on the balconies,” he said. 

RELATED | Overwhelming show of support for victims of fire

Apartment buildings in Brunswick are subject to an annual safety inspection. The last report from June found no outstanding violations.

Ward 3 Councilman Joe Salzgeber was on the scene Monday night. He told that he will launch a new effort with the city to make sure that apartments have working smoke detectors. He also said he would discuss sprinkler system concerns regarding older buildings. 

The investigation is now in the hands of state fire officials and the apartment’s insurance company.