Updated: 05/07/2014 5:45 PM
Created: 05/07/2014 8:10 AM KSTP.com
By: Scott Theisen
There have been 21 fire-related deaths in Minnesota so far this year. On Wednesday, local fire chiefs gathered at the State Capitol to push for sprinklers in newly-constructed homes, saying it will save lives.
The latest deadly fire was just this past weekend in Lakeland, Minnesota. Fifty-year-old Nicole Ann Ritzer was found dead inside her home Saturday as a house fire was being extinguished. Fire safety officials say it’s another tragic example of a life that could have been spared had her home been equipped with fire sprinklers.
The deadliest fire was on Valentine’s Day when five children ages 1-8 died in Minneapolis. Fire investigators haven’t been able to pinpoint what started that fire but haven’t ruled out electrical problems. Like most house fire deaths in Minnesota this year, there wasn’t a sprinkler system.
The fire chiefs pushed for a bill mandating that new homes 4,500-square-feet or larger be equipped with both smoke alarms and sprinkler systems.