Covington fire incident illustrates value of building codes

A little-noticed event in Covington early this month provided the perfect illustration of one of the services NKAPC provides to the community. Given that May is Building Safety Month, this incident was a particularly useful illustration of the value of building codes.

A gentleman, living in a turn-of-the-century school that was converted to apartments in the 1980s and gutted and remodeled recently under a permit issued by NKAPC, survived a fire. He was lying on his couch smoking and fell asleep. He has several medical issues that include the need to be on continuously-supplied oxygen; the tube delivering the oxygen was reportedly involved in the fire.

The gentleman was able to rescue himself by reaching the corridor where he was protected by building code-rated construction and a building code-rated self-closing door. The sprinkler head above the couch opened and extinguished the fire. The only thing burned, other than the occupant, was the couch and coverings he had to stay warm. The man was admitted to the hospital with minor issues. All other occupants were allowed back in their units after a short period of time.

As building codes professionals remind people periodically, “When we do our jobs, nothing happens.”