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Recent apartment fires highlight importance of fire codes

Recent apartment fires highlight importance of fire codes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Investigators wrapped up their investigation into the cause of an apartment fire in Colorado Springs Tuesday while also verifying the building compiled with fire codes.

There have been four apartment fires in Colorado Springs and one in Fountain in the past month that displaced residents and injured others.

The fire at Shannon Glen Apartments Tuesday night displaced 26 people. Three people had to be rescued from ladders. A spokesperson for Colorado Springs Fire Department said the building's smoke alarms did sound when the fire broke out.

Jerone Penrose lives in a building across from the place the fire started. He said he thinks the buildings could be safer.

"In my home alone, (it) has a lot of imperfections. A lot of the wiring in my home is faulty," said Penrose.

Deputy Fire Marshal Barry Madison with Colorado Springs Fire Department said the apartment building has followed fire codes during inspections in the past.

It was a different story at Cheyenne Vista Apartments after a fire in January. Firefighters found eight different fire code violations during an inspection after the fire.

Apartment building safety became a top priority for the Colorado Springs Fire Department in 2007 after a massive fire at Castle West Apartments. It left two people dead and hundreds homeless.

Older apartment buildings that don't meet current fire codes can be grandfathered in.  However, those buildings are almost always required to be brought up to current fire codes.

For Fire Code issues (i.e., smoke detectors, blocked exits) contact the Division of the Fire Marshal at 719-385-5978.

For Housing and Health issues (i.e., unfit living conditions, overgrown weeds), contact Code Enforcement at 719-444-7891.

For Building Code issues (i.e., bars on windows) contact Regional Building Department at 719-327-2880.

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