Mayor Caldwell vetoes bill giving condo owners more time to comply with fire safety law
  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018
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Mayor Caldwell vetoes bill giving condo owners more time to comply with fire safety law

  • JAMM AQUINO / 2018

    The exterior of the Marco Polo condominium complex is seen on July 7. The blaze, which originated in unit 2602, took the lives of four residents and caused over $100 million in damage.

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell today vetoed a bill that would have given condo owners an extra two years to comply with requirements of a fire-safety law enacted in the wake of the fatal Marco Polo fire in 2017.

The City Council last week by an 8-0 vote passed Bill 72, which gave condo owners an extra two years to conduct a safety evaluation and to implement its findings.

After the Marco Polo condo fire, which killed four people in a building without a sprinkler system, the City Council considered a bill requiring that sprinklers be installed in older buildings without such systems. About 370 on Oahu do not have sprinklers because they were built before 1975, the year such protections were required.

But because of cost concerns, the council passed a law that gave condo owners in old projects without sprinklers an option to conduct a fire safety evaluation. The evaluation would have to be done within three years and steps taken to comply with the evaluation within six years.

Bill 72 would have added two more years to those deadlines.

Caldwell cited the safety of high-rise residents and firefighters to justify his action. A two-year delay is “way too long, way too much danger, too much risk for everyone involved,” he said at a news conference announcing his veto.

The council needs six votes to override the mayor’s veto.

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