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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2019 03:02 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Fire Sprinkler Valve Safety

I am introducing legislation designed to help prevent fatal fires like the one that struck a senior care facility in my district. On the evening of November 16, 2017, a fast-moving blaze swept through the Barclay Friends Senior Center tragically claiming the lives of four residents of a building housing those with personal care and memory care needs.

Following a lengthy investigation, the investigating team found that the main sprinkler valve was in the off position and investigators believe it was off at the time of the fire.

While we may never know what exactly caused the fire at the Barclay Friends that fateful night, we do know that the main sprinkler should have been on and that that, among several other factors made an already extremely dangerous situation much, much worse.

In response, I am working with fire safety professionals to draft a package of legislation designed to improve the fire safety of senior care and senior living communities in Pennsylvania. The first bill will focus on strengthening the security of the main (OS&Y) valve on fire sprinkler systems, as well as inspections of sprinkler valves and sprinkler systems.

It is important that we learn the lessons of the tragedy at Barclay Friends and act now to help ensure that it never happens again.