California Mobile Homes Could Face New Fire Prevention Building Codes

November 18, 2008

In response to the fires burning in Southern California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared states of emergencies in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties.

Meanwhile, the Governor indicated during a press briefing on the Sayre Fire that new building codes for mobile homes could be on the horizon.

“One of the things that I’ve learned is that every single time there is a fire like that we learn new things,” Schwarzenegger said. “Like one of the things that was very clear here in this one was that we dealt with that many mobile homes, was that we should start thinking about building also the mobile homes with the same fire retardant materials that we now build in those fire-prone areas when we build homes. I think that would have saved probably a lot of those mobile homes. But you know, when you talk to those fire officials and the chiefs, they can tell you that fire ran through that mobile home park so quickly that there was no way of stopping anything there, because they were like matches and they caught fire one after the other. So we learned from that.”

While Schwarzenegger said he thought new building codes would be helpful in preventing the spread of future fires, he did not have a timeline for implementing regulations.

“Again, I’m not an expert in materials,” he stated during the press briefing. “But I know that I have seen many burned-out areas where you see houses that were burned out and burned down and next to it you see houses that were standing there and untouched.

“So I ask many times, ‘Why is it that those homes are standing and the other ones are burned down?’

And they say, ‘Well, they are the new houses built with new materials, fire retardant materials.’

And then I asked the Chief [John Tripp of the Los Angeles County Fire Department] just earlier, Chief Tripp, ‘Are those mobile homes, were they built with those fire retardant materials?’

And he said, ‘No.’

It’s something we should think about. So I think that’s why the [Los Angeles] Mayor [Antonio Villaraigosa] and I talked about it just earlier again and said let us get in there and see what we can do in order to make recommendations so that in the future they build homes thinking about that, like they do with airplanes and so on, that there could be a fire, especially if you’re in a fire-prone area.”

Source: Office of the Governor

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