Management also to blame for recent fire

Someone set fire early Thursday morning to the apartment building at 301 University Ave. S.E. One women was killed and several other residents were injured. The incident was not the building’s first fire — others occurred at 4 a.m. on June 27 and at 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 4. Fire department officials determined the previous fires to be the results of arson.
Because of the building’s dubious history, ensuring the building was protected against future fires should have been a major priority. The fire alarms were apparently not enough. A sprinkler system could have lessened the damage of the latest fire. However, a sprinkler system is not required by municipal building code because the building is only three stories tall. At the very least, alternate escape routes might have allowed residents to more easily exit the building. Instead, more than 35 residents were trapped on the third floor during the most recent blaze.
An arsonist is obviously to blame for the tragedy. However, the building’s management must also accept responsibility. Much of the housing around campus is just a fire-happy lunatic away from a similar disaster. When housing is not up to code and has exposed wiring and broken smoke detectors, tragedies will surely follow. If for no reason other than the safety of residents and the buildings themselves, owners and building managers should give more attention to run-down residences around campus.