Osage Beach asks public for help to prevent condo fires

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OSAGE BEACH – Almost a year after four children died in a condominium fire in Osage Beach, the fire protection district is still taking public suggestions to improve its fire code.

The Osage Beach Fire Protection District hosted a public hearing Monday night at Osage High School to allow public input on safety recommendations and stricter enforcement of current code.

The suggestions are directed at multi-family dwellings, like the condo where the fire occurred on Aug. 4, 2015. The investigation report blames a kitchen fire for the incident.

Some property owners did not want the fire code changed. Many said renovating older buildings would significantly increase rental prices.

“Economic impact had a real play in all of our recommendations,” Dorhauer said.

According to Dorhauer, the building was not structurally sound. At a news conference the morning after the fire, authorities said the building was constructed in the 1970's, before current codes were in place, meaning there was no sprinkler system in the condo.

“There is a suggestion, and this is a suggestion only, that we place sprinklers in stair wells, and realizing the high cost associated with that,” he said.

Sprinkler installation was dismissed as too expensive at the meeting Monday. Other suggestions include manual fire alarms and fire education programs for property managers.

Authorities said two 2-year-old girls were killed along with a 4-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy. Firefighters said they rescued at least two other people from the condo.

It took nearly 60 firefighters more than five hours to put the fire out. Osage Beach Fire Chief Jeff Dorhauer said all eight units in the building suffered smoke, fire or water damage.