Siding with builders, city council votes not to require home fire sprinklers

Geneva, Illinois, aldermen recently voted against a requirement to fire sprinkler all of the city's new homes. Their 8-1 decision seemed to be based on concerns argued extensively by the homebuilding industry. 

 “We're trying to keep our housing affordable,” said Alderman James Radecki in a story appearing in the Kane County Chronicle. “It's not prudent for us to mandate it at this time." 

One builder quoted in the story countered installation estimates for fire sprinklers and stated "$20,000 to $30,000 [per installation] was more accurate a cost." Fire sprinkler advocates have questioned these high estimates.

The lone dissenter was Alderman Jeanne McGowan; a self-described "proponent" of fire and life safety, she referenced how fire in the new home environment places residents and firefighters at increased risk of injury or death. 

Geneva's decision appears to buck the trend in Illinois; more than 100 communities have passed requirements for home fire sprinklers, with a few towns passing new ordinances this year. 

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