PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New legislation from Philadelphia City Council Thursday would offer property owners a tax break for installing fire escape ladders. The proposal comes just weeks after a deadly duplex fire in Fairmount that left 12 people dead.
A councilmember Eyewitness News talked to calls it a life-saving ordinance. Many people CBS3 talked to agree.READ MORE: Dave McCormick Sues Over Counting Mail Ballots In Pennsylvania Republican Senate Race
A makeshift memorial of stuffed animals and flowers still sits outside the Fairmount home where 12 lives were lost in a tragic inferno earlier this month.
“This was a horrible tragedy,” a man said.
Neighbors point out the Philadelphia Housing Authority-owned home was not equipped with any fire escape ladder.
“All multi-families are supposed to have them in, aren’t they?” a man said.
The Philadelphia code requires just one means of egress — that’s a clear path from a home’s interior directly to outdoors without traveling through another home for one- and two-family properties. For example, a front door is an acceptable means of egress, according to the city’s Licenses & Inspections Department.READ MORE: Decomposed Body Of Dog Found In Trash Bag On Train Tracks In Kensington, Philadelphia Police Say
Now City Council President Darrell Clarke has a proposed bill that would reimburse property owners in the form of tax credits for the installation of fire-escape ladders.
Many go for under $100, like one we found on Amazon.
“We decided to provide a tax credit to not create a financial burden on the landlords but incentivize them to put one in a window in a two- or three-story building,” Clarke said.
HAPCO Philadelphia, which represents about 2,000 small landlords in the city, believes members will take the opportunity to make their properties safer.
“We think it’s a great idea and it’s certainly going to help out as far as saving lives and it’s a great alternative to sprinkler systems, which are very, very costly,” HAPCO Philadelphia President Greg Wertman said.MORE NEWS: Heated Debate Over Who & What Should Be Allowed On Delaware River Splashes Into Public View
The Philadelphia Fire Department is still reviewing the proposal and didn’t want to comment but Council President Clarke hopes it gets passed quickly.