R.I. Governor May Relax Fire Code

August 15, 2007

Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri and other state officials are renewing a push to relax Rhode Island’s fire code after a bill that proposed major revisions died in the General Assembly earlier this summer.

Carcieri believes many of the proposed changes, which failed to win legislative approval, could still be implemented through regulations overseen by the state fire marshal’s office.

“The governor was very disappointed when the Senate failed to approve the compromise fire code legislation,” said Carcieri spokesman Jeff Neal.

Lawmakers this year mulled relaxing the state’s stringent fire code, which was created after a 2003 fire at a West Warwick nightclub killed 100 people but has recently drawn complaints from business owners who say the regulations are too burdensome and expensive.

An advisory committee was tasked with studying the effects of the new fire code, and legislation this year would have relaxed some deadlines for compliance, provided new options for alternative sprinkler and alarm systems and offered some tax relief.

Lawmakers held several public hearings on the bill, which passed the House of Representatives but did not make it out of the Senate.

Besides the fire marshal’s office, the governor’s office is working with the state Department of Labor and Training and the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review “to move forward with some of these updates” to the code, Neal said.


Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.projo.com/

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