Local and State Fire Officials Urging Gov. Perry to Veto Senate Bill 1410

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- A fourteen line amendment to Senate Bill 1410 is creating a fire storm of controversy across the state. Odessa Fire Marshal Detra White is one of many fire officials calling for the Governor to veto a bill that includes a provision that would ban cities from passing any rule, law, or ordinance after January 2009 requiring residential sprinkler systems in new homes.

"I don't know that Odessa or Midland would be looking at a residential fire safety ordinance at this time, but we deserve the opportunity do that." White said more people die in house fires than in apartment fires or any other type of fire.

Assistant Fire Marshal David Hickman in Midland tells NewsWest 9, officials in the Tall City plan to send letters to the Governor soon.

"It all boils down to money there is absolutely no other reason not to want residential fire sprinkler systems." White said the systems must be maintained, but are comparable to a lawn sprinkler system.

Karen York, Executive Officer of the Permian Basin Home Builders Association, argues builders are trying to make homes affordable to all Texans. York tells NewsWest 9, a residential sprinkler system adds $2 dollars to the cost of a new home for each square foot.  Builders also argue safety measures like smoke detectors and electrical codes designed to protect homeowners are already in place.

"They look to us on guidance for safe practices and this is absolutely a safe practice." White said cities need the opportunity to make the critical decision on behalf of its citizens if there is a need.

Senate Bill 1410 was sent to the Governor's desk June 1, 2009. The Governor has twenty days from the date it was sent to either sign, veto or allow the bill to pass into law without a signature. Typically the Governor has only ten days but because the bill was sent within ten days of the final session he is granted more time.