Fairmount Fire Spurs Offers Fire Ladder Tax Credit

The building, owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, had no fire escape. And a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Fire Department said investigators did not recover an escape ladder from the family’s apartment. Philadelphia does not require buildings of any size to have an emergency exit. In the weeks since the devastating blaze, elected officials have publicly mourned the death but said nothing concrete about changes to fire safety policy until now.

Council Chairman Darrell Clarke acknowledged that his legislation would not result in significant change.

“It’s a small step, but anything that encourages homeowners to add extra fire safety measures inside their properties is important and worth doing,” Clarke said. “We will continue to do everything in our power to protect residential properties from fires for every resident in our city.”

Under the bill, homeowners and interested homeowners would be required to submit their fire escape ladder installation plans to the city’s licensing and inspections department.

The bill, aimed at multi-family apartment buildings, also calls for an engineer or qualified professional to confirm in writing that the ladder is safe for the property in question, positioned near a window or other exit point and comply with other established safety rules. by the city.

A homeowner or property owner who does not properly maintain the ladder would be required to repay tax credits to the city, unless the city determines that the ladder has been compromised as a result of a natural disaster or an “other act of God”, an act of terrorism or vandalism, or “circumstances beyond the owner’s or owner’s control”.

The measure does not say whether homeowners and owners can claim a tax credit for each ladder they install, but does say the tax credit will be limited to a certain dollar amount.

Clarke said those details will be ironed out before the bill goes to a vote.

“Everything we do in government, the bean counters tend to have the final say,” Clarke said in an interview. “We personally believe the cost associated with this can never be too high and we need to be able to keep people safe.”