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MN House passes measure requiring fire sprinkler systems in residential buildings 75 feet or higher

The legislation would require buildings meeting the requirement to have fully-operational sprinklers by Aug. 1, 2033.

MINNEAPOLIS — Almost a year and a half after a deadly fire at a high rise building in the Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis claimed the lives of five people, a bill first proposed by Representative Mohammud Noor following the tragedy is moving forward. 

In a 103-30 vote Monday, the House passed the bill.  

“I knew all the five individuals we lost...I’ve been to that building numerous times," says Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis. "It's a reminder to me every single day, where that apartment is, where the origin of the fire is still boarded and you can see the signs of fire,” he says.

The legislation would require buildings 75 feet or higher to have fully-operational sprinklers by Aug. 1, 2033. "The bill came up pre-pandemic," he says. "As we started the conversation, COVID-19 hit and this bill never took as a priority.”

A Department of Public Safety investigation found sprinklers could have prevented the five deaths at the Cedar High Apartments. “I think the message was clear," he says. "That building needs to be prioritized and I’m glad that the City of Minneapolis is taking the steps to make sure we can give hope," he says.

Many older higher rise buildings across the state were built before fire codes required sprinkler systems.  "There's 69 buildings, less than 100 and more than a third of the buildings are in the Twin Cities.”

This month, the City Council housing committee approved a $1 million
grant agreement with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) to install sprinkler systems at four MPHA high-rise buildings - a project estimated to cost $4 million. 

The bill is now in the Minnesota Senate, where Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Mpls) is the sponsor.

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