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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signs bill to encourage fire sprinklers

At the site of a July 14 condo tower blaze that killed four, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 69 into law today, giving incentives to condo associations if they install fire sprinklers.

Fire Chief Manuel Neves called it a happy day because buildings will be safer, although the Honolulu Fire Department had pushed to make it mandatory for all older condo buildings to be retrofitted with automatic fire sprinkler systems.

Bill 69 originally did mandate retrofitting older high-rises with sprinkler systems. It was amended to instead give incentives to condo associations if they install sprinklers, such as tax credits and fee waivers. The bill also requires high-rises to have other safety measures in place.

The Marco Polo condominium at 2333 Kapiolani Blvd. sustained more than $107 million in damage and four residents died after being trapped in their apartments for hours.

The Association of Apartment of Owners of the Marco Polo voted recently in favor of using the association’s reserves to install a fire sprinkler system.

Some condo owners in other buildings had resisted making it mandatory because of the costs associated with having to install such systems.

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