by German Lopez
Friends, family of victims call for more safety rules
On New Year’s Day, a fire broke out in a residential home
near the University of Cincinnati that led to the deaths of UC students Chad
Kohls and Ellen Garner, and their friends and family say the deaths could have been prevented by a better fire ordinance code. Now, Councilwoman
Laure Quinlivan is heeding their call.
Speaking in front of the Livable Communities Committee
today, friends and family of Kohls and Garner asked City Council to pass changes to the fire ordinance, including more required fire exits, annual inspections, a mandatory fire drill at the beginning of each school semester and the removal of all exceptions in the code. They’re also asking the new ordinance be named in honor of Kohls and Garner.
Quinlivan says her office will work with the city administration to find possible changes that would help avert fire deaths, including a measure that
would prevent air conditioning units from being placed on windows that
are supposed to act as exits.
Quinlivan is also encouraging UC to restart a certified
list of preferred rental locations around campus, which would only include housing
properties that pass fire safety inspections.
“I am touched that those close to Ellen and Chad contacted
me, so that we can work with our city administration to prevent similar
tragedies in the future,” Quinlivan said in a statement.Two weeks ago, City Council unanimously approved an
ordinance that requires all rental properties be equipped with
photoelectric smoke detectors that are better at detecting slow,
smoldering fires, which have been linked to more fatalities than the
flaming, fast-moving fires picked up by the more traditional ionization
smoke detectors, according to the vice mayor’s office. CityBeat covered that legislation here.
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