- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 7, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha city councilman says a boardinghouse fire that killed two people has exposed flaws in city codes.

City building inspection and fire officials have been meeting to discuss possible changes in light of the Dec. 23 blaze.

“This problem is much larger than we thought,” said Jay Davis, the city’s superintendent of permits and inspections.

The council is set to consider ordinance changes on building code inspection and enforcement this month as part of a proposed settlement of lawsuit by Omaha landlords. But those changes don’t address some of the issues raised by the fire, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/14uR906 ).

The city lacks a way to ensure that such residences have working smoke detectors, Councilman Chris Jerram said Tuesday, noting that the Omaha Fire Department said smoke detectors at the boardinghouse were not working.

The boardinghouse didn’t have to have a fire exit in the basement, Jerram said, although newer boardinghouses must have them.

In addition, Jerram said, the boardinghouse wasn’t required to have a certificate of occupancy - which is standard for other Omaha businesses - because it existed before those certificates became a requirement.

The city doesn’t track boardinghouses, so officials don’t know how many exist or where they are, he said.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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