The fire that was caused by the careless disposal of a cigarette on Saturday afternoon in a multi-family building on Massachusetts Avenue. is a warning for all landlords. The smoke alarms functioned and no one was injured, but the fire caused extensive damage that will keep the building from being inhabited for several months.
This building is not dissimilar from buildings that are in our neighborhood. Many homes that were once single-family homes are now three-or-four-family homes. And in many cases not only were the houses easily cut up into these units but many of the details were kept intact like moldings or woodwork that everyone treasures.
But in keeping the old treasures, some of the inadequate wiring was also kept. And this is a problem waiting to happen as our need for gadgets of modern life just seem to always increase adding more burden on wiring that was never meant to handle much more than a lamp with a 100-watt bulb.
We know that the city is requiring all new rehabs, even for a single family, to have a sprinkler system installed. This added safety can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a renovation.
But when you see the fire that happened on Saturday, one should not question adding a sprinkler system.