Mpls. needs to step up fire checks, marshal says

  • Article by: RANDY FURST and JAMES ELI SHIFFER , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: April 20, 2010 - 10:29 PM

Better inspections in Minneapolis might have revealed the hazards in the building where six people died.

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joycen62Apr. 21, 1012:14 AM

Before we enhance the fire marshalls budget, why couldn't the insurance companies, who had policies on this property inspected it? They would of either refused to insure it, or pronounced it safe. We need less government, but the private sector needs to work harder. Sometimes it's not about just getting the premium check. Or maybe it is.

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BillyHeywoodApr. 21, 10 2:27 AM

The insurance company would much rather make the occasional payout than inspect every building they insure to make sure there aren't fire hazards. Hell, they probably won't pay anything if the policy holders can't prove that something that was up to code caused the fire. The insurance company is about straight cash, homey. They don't care if a bunch of people are burned to death, as long as they don't have to pay out.

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BillyHeywoodApr. 21, 10 2:29 AM

Also, I would hope that the city doesn't react to this the way the state reacted to the bridge collapse. They don't need to chase this disaster by over-allocating funds to fire inspections.

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pashookApr. 21, 10 2:47 AM

Put the burden on the landlord to provide a certificate of compliance yearly. They will have to outsource the inspection instead of depending on city/state resources.

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toolman28Apr. 21, 10 5:19 AM

Just another way of government to intrude in my life - why should I pay taxes to save my life ( sarcasm )

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gmamonkApr. 21, 10 5:41 AM

Nothing has been stated yet as to the cause of the fire, maybe all the inspections in the world wouldn't have prevented it~people do need to take responsibility too, we can't be everything to everyone.

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SupervonApr. 21, 10 5:53 AM

I have this funny feeling that city properties and federal subsidized properties are always inspected regularly. I guess we know where the private citizen stands by todays government.

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joeeeeeeApr. 21, 10 6:09 AM

that people should be fired from their jobs for this and as soon as possible. I think the response to this is completely unacceptable. It goes without saying that the failure to provide a comprehensive and through inspection system is is a complete and utter failure of responsiblity by the city. I bet when they walked into that bar to inspect it, there were multiple city employees inside and they could have and should have spent at least a minimum amount of time to eyeball those apartments. Fire these people and do it now.

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blendedvegApr. 21, 10 6:16 AM

I am curious if there is any empirical, peer-reviewed data demonstrating a link between the frequency of fire inspections and a decrease in fire fatalities. I have done a brief search and found none. There are a lot of advocacy papers done by firefighters advocating for increased inspections; these are somewhat suspect, though, as there is a presumed economic interest in increased work by the authors. Clearly, fire hazards can arise quickly--in a matter of months, days or even minutes. Does increasing the frequency of inspection from 10 years to 5 years to 2 years really increase the safety of the occupants that much? Or are we better off creating mechanisms by which the cost of fire hazards are so economically prohibitive to building owners that they (the owners) take responsibility for ensuring that hazards are removed. The Minneapolis Council Member for this ward has been doing a lot of harumphing, trying to blame this on city staff (ironically, the public safety staff the council has trimmed to potentially unsafe levels while hiring feel good communications and engagement specialists) but there is precious little actual evidence that this tragedy could have been avoided.

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dakmarkApr. 21, 10 6:17 AM

Reality: Fires will still happen. People will die.

Half of the homes in my newly built subdivision were "drive-by" inspections by the city building inspectors. The inspector did not get out of his car or enter the building. They claim they know the developer/builder and no physical inspection is require.

Bottom line - more taxes - more government workers - more of the same.

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