Overcrowded units are a safety issue
Not only are overcrowded units a costly aggravation, they are a also a
very serious safety concern.
Illegal plumbing and electrical work done by unlicenced tradesmen is
one issue and far too many flammable belongings in tight quarters is
A horrible tragedy occurred in a California townhouse complex tells us
how serious this can be.
Capistrano mayor vows action after condo fire kills 3-year-old
Orange County Register
By Matthew Fleming/Staff Writers, Ken Steinhardt Staff
Update: Later in hospital, the boy's
mother and brother died from their injuries
Local school officials offered students counseling Wednesday and the
city’s mayor, Mayor Derek Reeve, vowed to take action to prevent
similar tragedies after a fire set by a child playing with a lighter
swept through a crowded condominium, killing a 3-year-old boy and
leaving several others badly injured.
Jaiden Liborio, who was a month shy of his fourth birthday, succumbed
to burn injuries late Tuesday at Mission Hospital, hours after the
blaze began, authorities said.
Authorities said a child playing with a lighter caused the fire.
Officials confirmed that 17 people – nine children and eight adults –
had been living in the four-bedroom condo. In total, 80 people from
eight units were displaced.
A total of nine people were injured, including some who were forced by
the fire to jump from the second story of the condo. Six of the injured
While the tragedy raised concerns over high occupancy in the condo,
city Development Services Director Charlie View said cities are
required to follow standards set by the state. Although the
square-footage for the condo was not immediately available, 17
residents could have been allowable, depending on how much liveable
space there was -- kitchens, bathrooms and garages are generally not
considered liveable space.
The code is designed to be more inclusive than exclusive.
“There is a concern that you’re not so restrictive that people can’t
find a place to live,” View said.
While a large volume of people does not impede the fire department’s
ability to rescue victims, the sheer volume of stuff that comes with
high occupancy could.
“Anytime there’s a large fuel load, it just feeds the fire,” Concialdi
said. “Blankets, clothing and mattress could all increase a fire’s
Another major concern were smoke detectors. Concialdi said all of them
in the unit had been removed.
get smoke alarms after triple fatal fire last month in San Juan
Orange County Register
By Aaron Orlowski
21 February 2015
Volunteers installed thousands of smoke alarms Saturday in the homes of
neighbors of a mother and her two sons who died a month ago when a fire
broke out in a condo with no working smoke alarms.
Kidde, a fire safety products company, donated 5,000 smoke alarms that
firefighters installed in 1,000 condos in the La Zanja neighborhood in
San Juan Capistrano. One hundred fifty volunteers from the Orange
County Fire Authority, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Red
Cross and church and community groups distributed the smoke alarms.
The fire on Jan. 20 that killed the mother and her two sons injured six
others in the crowded condo where the nine of them were sleeping.
Less than a day after that fire, a similar one broke out in Santa Ana,
according to OCFA spokesman Capt. Steve Concialdi. At the second fire,
however, working smoke alarms alerted residents to the blaze at about 1
a.m., and the eight residents escaped unharmed.
“Smoke alarms provide those crucial extra seconds to let somebody know
there is a fire inside their residence,” Concialdi said. "We're trying
to give back to the community and make sure this never happens again."