Advocacy Victory: State Fire Marshal Withdraws Proposal to Mandate Sprinklers

By Mary Schaefer, MORe Now Contributor


This article is a follow up to a previous MORe Now article: A Fire Sprinkler Mandate is a Bad Idea for Illinois

A highly controversial proposed state rule mandating fire sprinklers in residential property has been withdrawn after an outcry of public opposition. 

Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis has withdrawn proposed rules before the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) that would require the installation of fire sprinklers in new homes and older high-rise residential buildings.

The  Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune both reported that the state fire marshal has withdrawn his proposed changes to the Illinois' fire safety code.

"In the course of this process, it's become clear that any proposed state rule needs additional refinement," Matkaitis said in a news release issued today. "Therefore today, I am officially withdrawing the proposed rule before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to take into account substantial public comment and carefully re-examine this issue."

Town hall meetings were held in Chicago last week where tempers flared on the issue. Matkaitis was not present at those hearings. The State Fire Marshal had planned his own hearing in Springfield on August 6th. The hearing has been subsequently cancelled according to the Illinois State Fire Marshal web site.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® reports this is a substantial advocacy victory for REALTORS®. IAR fought the sprinkler mandate on behalf of its 41,000 members. IAR President Mike Oldenettel was set to testify at the state fire marshal's hearing next week.

If passed the Life Safety Code changes would have mandated that all new single-and-two family residential construction homes must have fire sprinkler systems. The rule would have also imposed new retrofitting requirements for high-rising buildings. The cost would have ranged in the millions for some buildings.

IAR created a web site at to educate members and the public on the issue.


Read the original article regarding this issue: A Fire Sprinkler Mandate is a Bad Idea for Illinois


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