Sprinkler system not required for Belmont Avenue apartments - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Sprinkler system not required for Belmont Avenue apartments

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Western Mass News has discovered more information about the triple fatal fire over the weekend on Belmont Avenue in Springfield. 

As crews work to figure out what started an apartment building fire that claimed the lives of a father and his two young children, many are wondering why the building did not have sprinklers.

Due to the building's age it didn’t legally have to have them, which is something the Springfield Fire Commissioner said would have made a huge difference in slowing down those flames.

The identities of the victims; Aden Abdakar, his 2-year-old son Ahmed Ahmed, and 1-year-old daughter Fatumo Ahmed were released by the Hampden District Attorney on Monday. 

[READ MORE: Officials identify victims in deadly Springfield fire]
On Sunday, fire crews battled more than just flames at the apartment building 49 Belmont Avenue in Springfield.
The Springfield Fire Commissioner told Western Mass News two residents who left the apartment where the fire started made a decision that changed everything.

"When they evacuated they left the door open and the wind came through the apartment caused the windows to fail due to the volume of fire. The fire then had 15-20 mile force winds blowing across the fire and spread quickly" said Springfield Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi. 
The building had a hard wired alarm system in the hallways which could be heard on Sunday, but it’s unclear if the battery operated detectors in each unit were functioning.

What the building didn’t have was a sprinkler system, which is legal under state law. 

If an older building undergoes a renovation that is 33 percent of the total building’s value, a sprinkler system would need to be installed per city code. 

When Western Mass News investigated if any building permits had been pulled for this address:
"No renovations are under taken, no building permits taken, or by law they didn't have to have sprinklers at the time of the fire. It would have given people more time to evacuate the building and would have held the fire in check until we get here" said  Commissioner Calvi. 
Multiple state, federal, and local agencies are investigating. 

Late Monday afternoon, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said that relief efforts have been established for those impacted by the fire.

  • Checks can be made out to JFSWM (Jewish Family Services of Western Mass.) with 'Fire' in the memo line and sent to: JFSWM, 15 Lenox Street, Springfield, MA 01108 - or - Brian Bedore, c/o TD Bank, 561 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA 01108
  • Household items (brand new only) can be dropped off at Jewish Family Services at 15 Lenox Street in Springfield.  Families are in need of:
    • Bed pillows
    • Twin sheets
    • Queen sheets
    • Bath and hand towels
    • Twin comforters
    • Queen comforters
    • Pots and pans
    • Paper towels
    • Bathroom items including toilet paper, shampoo, bar soap, toothpaste, and brushes

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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