East Williamsburg church had no sprinkler system; many other buildings exempt from sprinkler reqirements

Buildings that have been standing for over 90 years are exempt from the sprinkler requirement – like the church.

Katelynn Ulrich and Adolfo Carrion

Apr 2, 2024, 10:12 PM

Updated 103 days ago


The East Williamsburg church that burned in an Easter fire did not have a sprinkler system, and News 12 is learning more about some of the fire hazards that Our Lady of Pompeii and other places in the city may have.
The city’s retired fire commissioner says that the fire grew so big at the church that firefighters had to fight it from the outside, making it extremely difficult.
"Had a sprinkler system would have been in place that would have been activated before our arrival and kept the fire contained to one area before we could get there,” said the retired commissioner.
The church isn’t required to have a sprinkler system. Most city buildings are, following a 2008 fire code revision, but buildings that have been standing for over 90 years are exempt – like the church.
The Brooklyn Catholic Diocese says that the FDNY regularly inspects churches and that since only new buildings are required to have them, there’s no immediate plan to install one at Our Lady of Pompeii.
"I think what would happen is if we made the law retroactive and said every church in our city must install a sprinkler system; most just couldn't comply,” said a member of the diocese.

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