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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Cache Valley fire administrators want the areas new homes to be equipped with in-home fire sprinkler systems -- something they say would save money and lives.
Fire officials are pushing for changes in county regulation that would require the residential systems.
Currently unincorporated areas of the county lack fire hydrants and current codes don't require fire hydrants in subdivisions with five or fewer lots, said Craig Humphreys deputy chief and fire marshal for the Cache County Fire District. "Sometimes well have 30 or 40 homes and no fire hydrants," he said.
Another firefighting challenge: many new homes are built with plastic-based materials which burn faster and hotter. "We're behind the eight ball from the beginning," Humphreys said.
Residential fire caused nearly $7 billion in property damage nationwide in 2005, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That same year, more than 3,000 lives were lost in 400,000 house fires. Four of those deaths were in Cache County.
Residential sprinklers were factors in reducing injury and damage at least twice in the past year, county officials said.
Homeowner and developers, however, are concerned about the cost of adding sprinkler systems to homes. Humphreys said it's worth the cost. Repairing a fire damaged room costs less than $2,000, he said. "Without sprinklers, it might be $20,000 to $30,000 if it's not a total loss."
Information from: The Herald Journal
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)