Enforce Colorado Springs' Fire Access Codes!

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Please sign this petition telling City Council and Mayor John Suthers that adhering to fire codes in Colorado Springs is not negotiable!

Colorado Spring's City Planning Department is ignoring and waiving fire access codes, without the use of variances, in the Old Colorado City neighborhood for new infill projects.

This is dangerous and unacceptable.

Example #1: An ADU building constructed at 1819/17 W. Pikes Peak Ave. does not have adequate fire equipment access. Colorado Springs' Fire Access Code requires that new buildings must have alley access that is, at a MINIMUM, 20 feet wide. (Here is the Code in its entirety, see Page 4, 2a.) or a driveway with an unobstructed width of 12 feet (see Page 5, 7b.). This new building, which is only five feet away from a neighbor's garage, cannot be accessed through a driveway on the street. It can only be accessed through an alley that is 13' feet wide utility-pole-to-utility-pole. (You can read the details here.)

Example #2: Three huge duplexes (7,000 square foot each) have been approved to be built at 534 Robbins Place, also in the Old Colorado City area. As with the above property, this property is accessible only through a narrow alley. 

According to a Colorado Springs Gazette article, this property has "a 12-foot-wide alley that a Colorado Springs fire engine ‘couldn’t even access.' " If this project is completed, this alley will be the SOLE entrance to these three duplexes. There is no way to widen this road to twenty feet, and a waiver was granted to ignore the fire code. (You can read more about this highly controversial construction project here.)

Irresponsible decisions, like ignoring fire access codes, or allowing a waiver to undermine a code, put the lives of homeowners, renters, neighbors, and firefighters at risk. It puts our properties at risk. In recent years we have seen fires in our city that have burned down many homes and devastated neighborhoods. If you're from Colorado Springs you're well aware that we experience winds over 50 mph several times a year. Last year we had hurricane-level (over 100 mph) winds in January. With the winds and the dry climate of Colorado, uncontrollable fire is a real and ongoing danger.

Fire codes have evolved for a reason--BECAUSE THEY SAVE LIVES.

As Columbia, Ohio Fire Marshal John Reich put it, in 2001:

"Streets began getting wider in the 1930s and 1940s to meet fire codes that mandate streets of a minimum width so fire trucks and emergency vehicles can speed to a burning building or accident victim. . . We say that all of our codes are written in blood."

Please sign this petition telling City Council and Mayor John Suthers that adhering to fire codes in Colorado Springs is not negotiable! Stand with us in demanding that buildings under construction MUST meet fire access standards, and that no waivers be given to allow developers to bypass ANY rules regarding fire safety! Furthermore, we insist that any new buildings (less than a year old) that have been constructed against the fire code guidelines MUST be brought to code (no exceptions, no waivers!) or removed immediately for the public's safety.

We demand accountability and PUBLIC SAFETY FIRST from our local government. We must protect the people of Colorado Springs!

Thank you for signing and sharing this petition.

Photo credit: "House Fire" (2/6/2013) is by Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States, via Wikimedia Commons.