Sprinkler code heats things up between BOCC and fire districts
SUMMIT COUNTY – The county commissioners’ meeting room heated up on Monday as commissioners and a fire marshal debated a proposed code requiring all existing buildings greater than 6,000 square feet to install automatic sprinkler systems when undergoing alterations. Larry Renfroe, director of the county’s building inspection department, asked the commissioners to adopt use of the 2003 International Fire Code and its amendments.The request was made to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on behalf of the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District and the Red, White and Blue, Lake Dillon and Snake River fire protection districts.The building modifications would have to be equal to or greater than 50 percent of the structure’s total area in order for the fire code to apply. Change of occupancy would fall under the code’s alterations umbrella.”The cost of implementing it is what concerns me,” said Commissioner Bill Wallace. “The burden of paying for these changes would fall on the building owners, the citizens. It was the same way with the 1997 (version).”The Summit County fire districts had previously adopted and enforced the 1997 edition of the Uniform Fire Code with amendments in 1998 and then the 2000 edition of the International Fire Code with amendments in 2002.Steve Skulski, division chief for the community service bureau for Lake Dillon Fire Rescue, said the change is based on the districts’ ability to transport equipment, men and vehicles to an emergency scene in this mountainous region.The incorporated towns of Summit County have yet to approve use of the code. According to Skulski and Renfroe, the towns are waiting to see what the county’s decision will be. “We probably need to have a few people behind us before we lead the charge on this,” Wallace said. “If the towns are looking for us to lead on this, we probably need to have some discussions with the towns first.”Wallace said the commissioners needed a couple of weeks to go over the code and its 48 amendments. Skulski assured the BOCC that the districts are operating on a system to continue to protect the citizens of Summit County until the commissioners can further investigate the proposed fire code.Jennifer Huffman can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at email@example.com.
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