Normandy, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Investigators have not released the cause of last weekend’s seven alarm fire at the Norwood Court Complex Apartments in Normandy that destroyed two dozen units and left 52 people without homes. However, an update to the fire code could have limited the damage.
However, News 4 found out the apartment building did not have fire breaks in the attic that are designed to compartmentalize the fire in one area as to not let it spread to another.
Roger Herin, the Fire Marshall for the Monarch Protection District, said the fire spread through the roof area because the complex was built before fire breaks were required. Older buildings are not required to meet additions to the fire codes.
“It sickens me,” said apartment resident Christopher Hartley, who lost his home to the fire, “It’s a life changing thing. Now I got to go start over.”
Hartley said he typically asks about fire safety when renting an apartment, but this time he didn’t.
“When I moved into this one, it was kind of fast,” Hartley added, “and I didn’t think to look at the fire stuff. I never thought of all these apartments, this could happen.”
Fire Marshall Herin suggests renters should ask about fire alarms, who maintains the alarms, if there are building alarms or sprinkler systems. And he said, renters should definitely ask about fire breaks and how they are maintained. Anyone who goes into the attic to do work could damage the breaks by putting a hole in them and rendering them ineffective.
“[Fire breaks] can save damage to the building and give time for the fire department to get there and work on the fire,” Herin said. He also said the breaks could save lives.
If the buildings are rebuilt, they will have to meet the most recent codes which would include the fire breaks.