Fire Headquarters Needs Fire Sprinklers

A newly renovated building in downtown Omaha needs a fire sprinkler system. What makes that news is because it’s the fire division headquarters.

City Fire Inspection Chief Ed Karbowski says, “We impose sprinkler requirements on newer buildings to make them safe. It could come across the wrong way if we’re not doing that in our own buildings based on a grandfather clause.”

Built 40 years ago Omaha fire division headquarters has been classified a business that didn’t need sprinklers. Last year a $1.7 million dollar renovation of the headquarters building changed that with the addition of offices for staff and bedrooms for firefighters. Karkowski says, “This side where we sleep more than 12 firefighters becomes a hotel in the life safety code criteria.”

The fire sprinkler system will cost taxpayers $350,000 and is scheduled to be installed in 2012. The money will come from Capital Improvement dollars no general funds so the expenditure won't cost jobs according to Fire Chief Mike McDonnell

The renovation of the headquarters building and downtown fire station had been budgeted since 2001 then delayed twice before completion last year.

Acting Deputy Chief Dan Stolinski says, “The offices haven’t been renovated for 20 years. It’s giving a facelift.”

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