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Government and Politics


Ohio lawmakers consider changing the state’s building and fire codes
The change would require a second exit for upstairs bedrooms
Story by JAY HANSELMAN


 
In The Region:

Ohio landlords often take older homes near college campuses and turn them into student housing. That sometimes involves converting an attic area into a small bedroom.

But usually the only way in and out is a set of stairs, and that could be a danger if there’s a fire in the building.

Some Ohio lawmakers are working to change the state’s building and fire codes to address the issue. The proposed legislation would require a second way out.

Ellen Garner and Chad Kohls lost their lives in a 2013 fire near the University of Cincinnati.  Ellen’s mother, Ann Garner, wants the change.

LISTEN: Ann Garner stresses the need for fire safety improvements

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“If we refuse to act and don’t make some improvements, then we’re going to have to be prepared to accept more fatalities in the future because the same conditions that killed Chad and Ellen are still around today.”

The second way out could include an emergency escape ladder fastened to the window. They cost about $250. 

The lawmakers say they hope to have the bill approved by the end of the year.
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