Barrington Plaza Fire Revives Push for Sprinklers in Older High-Rise Buildings

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A man clings to the side of Barrington Plaza on Jan. 29, 2020, as flames engulf an apartment balcony. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

A man clings to the side of Barrington Plaza on Jan. 29, 2020, as flames engulf an apartment balcony. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

After a fire tore through a 25-story apartment building on L.A.’s westside, City Councilman Mike Bonin is expected to introduce a measure Friday that would require sprinklers in residential buildings built more than 50 years ago.

The Los Angeles City Council has considered expanding the sprinkler requirement to older buildings that are exempt from retrofitting rules for years, Bonin said. But the effort faced objections from building owners who said the fixes would be too expensive.

Bonin said officials hope to find federal grants to cover the installation costs, but if not, he wants to see management companies pay for the sprinklers.

Thirteen people were injured and hundreds of residents were displaced after the flames broke out Wednesday at the Barrington Plaza complex at 11740 Wilshire Blvd., the same building where a destructive fire burned in 2013.

The 1960s-era apartment tower has no fire sprinklers but is still considered up to code under current law because it was built between 1943 and 1974,  according to fire officials.

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