TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers hope a bill waiting to be signed will keep families safer in the event of fires.
Under the new bill, newly built single-family homes would be required to have fire sprinkler systems installed.
"This is a tool that firefighters use. It's a tool that early alerts our residents of smoke and hazard, and it's a tool that will contain fires for our members as they respond,” says Ed Donnelly, of the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association.
According to firefighting experts, a house fire doubles in size every 30 seconds. Sprinklers provide time for residents to escape and for firefighters to arrive on scene.
At a news conference held at the New Jersey State House Tuesday, officials brought up the devastating fire at an apartment complex in Edgewater. That fire was allegedly made worse due to the type of lightweight, synthetic materials used in the building’s construction.
"The only way to significantly address the impact of lightweight construction is by requiring fire suppression sprinklers,” says Assemblyman John Wisniewski.
If the bill becomes law, all new residential construction in New Jersey will require sprinklers. Gov. Chris Christie has until this Thursday to either sign or veto the sprinkler bill.