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After deadly blaze, council members suggest changes to fire code

The bill was introduced at a meeting Thursday

Months after a fire tore through a North Philly boarding home, killing four people, council members are considering a bill that would make electric smoke alarms in those homes mandatory.

The bill was introduced during a City Council meeting Thursday, and was co-sponsored by Council President Darrel Clarke and Councilwoman Cindy Black. It suggests amending the building code to make hard-wired, interconnected, electric smoke alarms mandatory in boarding houses. They could replace battery-powered smoke alarms, which are common in many homes.

The bill comes two months after a fatal fire at a house in North Philly, which was allegedly operating as an illegal boarding, or rooming, home, 6abc reported. Four people were killed in the fire and, following an investigation, the Department of Licenses and Inspections said there was no evidence that the home had working smoke detectors, according to 6abc.

The proposed legislation is the first of several bills related to affordable and multi-family housing that are coming in front of City Council in the next several weeks, PlanPhilly reported.

Licenses and Inspections Commissioner, Dave Perri, anticipates that the bill could pave the way for similar requirements across all rental units. He said studies have shown that hard-wired smoke detectors could reduce fire-related deaths by two thirds, PlanPhilly reported. The cost of installing the electric smoke alarms in a two-story home could be about $500.