apartment fire and questions for landlord?

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Topic: apartment fire and questions for landlord?

General Discussion April 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm

apartment fire and questions for landlord?

On Friday night, the apartment building attached to ours had a small but serious fire that left one resident is critical condition. It’s our understanding from folks who live in the building that the fire detectors in the hall did not go off despite a TON of smoke. Only one resident woke up at 3am, smelled smoke, and luckily called 911. The fire was contained to one 1st floor unit and only the bottom 2 floors were evacuated.
Our (very old, very outdated) building is owned by the same management company and in many ways, the two buildings function as one– we’re connected in the front, have identical layouts, share maintenance staff, etc.
I’m concerned about the lack of alarms and want to know about the fire safety of my building. Is anyone familiar with the DC fire code and what regulations are in place for alarm tests, replacements, etc? Should I ask that management conduct a fire drill? Seek a Fire Marshall inspection? Get a fire ladder and hope for the best? For what its worth, neither building’s residents have heard anything from management since the fire. I want to ask the right questions when I contact them and would love input on what those questions are.

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Someone else might have better info, but since no one else has responded yet… It looks like one way to go about it would be either to report a housing code violation and request an inspection on those grounds.  Another way would be to request a “proactive inspection.”  (I get the feeling that a “proactive inspection” is what you might request when you think there might be a violation, but don’t have evidence of it.)  See the DCRA website at http://dcra.dc.gov/DC/DCRA/Inspections/ .  You might also call 311 and see if they recommend going through DCRA or through some other office.

My building has had similar issues with smoke alarms not going off even though there was more than enough smoke present to have tripped them. No serious incidents but extremely worrisome nonetheless. The alarms were inspected and determined to be legit and in proper operating condition. The problem is the ionizing type (most common) does not perform adequately for smoldering fires (as opposed to live flame). The photoelectric type is better. There was a story on NBC last fall. http://www.today.com/video/today/49269880#49269880


Are you sure they’re smoke dectectors and not fire alarms?  FIre alarms are triggered by heat, not smoke.

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