Does your building have fire sprinklers? Map shows LA high-rises and a hotel that don't

Rob Hayes Image
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Map shows LA high-rises that lack fire sprinklers
Dozens of high-rise buildings and one hotel in Los Angeles lack fire sprinklers.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It's been more than two weeks since a man clung to the side of one of the Barrington Plaza apartment buildings in Los Angeles, seven floors up, trying to escape a fire.

He made it out alive, but his roommate did not.

The 25-story apartment complex doesn't have sprinklers. It was grandfathered in because it was built before 1974.

"It really makes very little sense to people why we would have these grandfathered buildings," said Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin.

In the days after that fire, Bonin introduced a motion for a crackdown on high-rises exempt from the sprinkler requirement.

"This is about public safety on a number of different levels," he said. "It's about protecting tenants. It's also about protecting our first responders. A high-rise fire is an incredibly risky and dangerous endeavor."

Shortly after the Barrington Plaza blaze, Eyewitness News filed a public records request with the Los Angeles Fire Department seeking to identify all the high-rises without sprinkler systems.

On the list are 55 residential high-rises and one hotel.

INTERACTIVE MAP: High-rises without sprinklers

This map shows all the residential high-rises (and one hotel) that do not have sprinkler systems in the city of Los Angeles. Click on a building's dot to learn more.

Source: Los Angeles Fire Department

According to LAFD's list, there were 10 fires at eight different high-rises over the last two decades.

John Whitney lives in the Hollywood Ardmore, one of the buildings without sprinklers. It's something he finds unnerving.

"While these buildings should keep their original structures, I do believe certain safety hazards should be recognized," said Whitney. "So yeah, I do believe that it should have the systems."

This isn't the first time the city council has tried to mandate sprinkler systems in all residential high-rises. The last attempt came in 2013 after a fire broke out at the Barrington Plaza apartments, the same high-rise building that burned two weeks ago.

That fire struck the 11th floor. It spurred similar safety concerns, but new sprinkler requirements failed to make it through the council.

"The motion at that time said we shouldn't have to wait for another tragedy to do this. Apparently, we did. So it's time to get the damn thing done," said Bonin.

Bonin expects the new regulations to pass the council within the next couple months.