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Thursday, March 10, 2016

I Will Never Understand It

My Tuesday morning assignment took me to Minersville.  A row home fire.  Another one.  Schuylkill County is filled with them.  That's the way they did things back then.  Row homes saved space.  They were economical.

Unfortunately, they can also be fire traps.

You see, most row homes have common attics.  Once the flames get up there, they spread.  Fast.  Both ways.  A fire in one home can soon take out an entire block.  The fire chief told me he was thankful they made a good stop on this one.  Not only could the flames have destroyed the cluster of four, the flames could have easily hopped to the building next door, just a few feet away.

So, what do we do?  The current common attics are grandfathered in.  You can't rush in and mandate fire walls.  Landlords, how much would it cost to install fire blocking?  A few hundred dollars for drywall and insulation.  Maybe a few hundred more for installation.

Families are sleeping with a major danger just over their heads.  Something has to be done.

I understand economic realities.  A lot of these row homes are in low and moderate income neighborhoods.  But, what is the price of a life?