Who checks high-rise fire safety in Phoenix?

After a recent apartment burned in London, Will Pitts verifies what safety measures are in place for high-rise apartments in the Phoenix metro area.

PHOENIX - As more high-rise buildings are built in downtown Phoenix, what are the chances of a major fire happening like the one that killed 12 in a residential tower in London?

We went to verify if someone was really keeping an eye on those buildings and making sure they're compliant with fire codes.

The Phoenix Fire Department tells 12 News the fire stations in and around downtown Phoenix are specially trained for high-rise fires, which can be very different than a single-story fire.

"It can jump floors, it can go floor to floor," Phoenix Fire Captain Eric Vandertorn said. "If the building's not sprinklered, it can move even faster."

Which is why, Vandertorn said, Phoenix fire officials visit every high-rise building to see the layout and determine where things are. Most buildings have sprinklers, but Vandertorn said there are some that have sprinkler system that don't stay charged with water. Firefighters have to know ahead of time if they're going to one of those buildings so they can put water into the sprinklers.

Vandertorn also said firefighters look for the fire control systems in each building. Those systems allow them to control the door and security system of the building in order to evacuate people more quickly. It also shows firefighters specifically where the fire is inside the building.

Those fire control systems have to be inspected by the City of Phoenix fire safety inspectors before the building is even open to the public. 

So we can verify that there are people checking the fire suppression systems and training specifically to handle high-rise fires in downtown Phoenix.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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