Osage Beach Fire Protection District looks at changes after fatal fire

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OSAGE BEACH - Seven months after a fire at Compass Pointe condominiums, the Osage Beach Fire Protection District held a public hearing Monday night to discuss recommendations from a special committee.

Osage Beach Fire Chief Jeff Dorhauer appointed members to the special committee after four children died in the August fire. They are 2-year-old Kairi Helton, 2-year-old Zeza Bradshaw, 4-year-old Lee Ann Hendrickson and 5-year-old Joshua Hendrickson.

The fire started around 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4.

After a lengthy investigation, the cause of the fire was not able to be determined because of extensive damage.

The Osage Beach Fire Protection District covers 105 square miles, which has over 90 complexes, which consists of apartment buildings and condominiums, in it.

Dorhauer said eight fires since 2002 have been due to improper disposal of cigarettes.

There are three different categories of recommendations from the committee:

  • Those the Osage Beach Fire Protection District would enforce
  • Those property owners associations, homeowners associations and complex owners would enforce
  • Committee suggestions for consideration

"There's a series of recommendations, and when we looked at this we had to look at feasibility, we had to look at legality of the changes, but we also had to look at the economic impact especially on the owners," Dorhauer said.

This is a list of recommendations that the committee made that the fire protection district would enforce:

  • Emergency lighting and signs
  • Public education for property managers and homeowners associations
  • A minimum of one fire alarm per unit
  • An alarm that alerts the whole building
  • Heat detectors on exterior exits
  • Requiring a manual alarm system for buildings more than three stories high or buildings with more than 16 units
  • Restrictions on barbecue grills
  • Requiring noncombustible ashtrays in public spaces

Rick Ennis, a member of the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition, attended the public hearing and said he thinks there is a simple fix rather than the longer list of recommendations.

"I believe they fall a little bit short, but I understand why," Ennis said. "There was a lot of good valid concerns brought up from the audience, but all of those concerns can be addressed through fire sprinklers installed in the condominiums."

One of the Lighthouse Pointe condo board members said he thinks the recommendations are going in the right direction, but other audience members had major concerns about restrictions on grills.

"It's a hot button because everybody wants to do it. What they're not focusing on is they're not saying you have to throw them away. They're saying you can have them under these conditions. So meet the requirements, and you can have your BBQ grill," Doug Roorda said.

These are the committee's recommendations that property owners associations, homeowners associations and condo owners would enforce:

  • Education plans posted in each unit until utilized for less than 30 day rentals
  • Emergency guide in each unit
  • Smoking restictions and smoking areas posted
  • Fire extinguishers on each level
  • Conduct fire drills
  • Carbon monoxide detectors in each unit

This is a list of committee suggestions for consideration:

  • Sprinkler systems in stairwells
  • Exterior stairway protections

Dorhauer said the goal of these changes is to reduce risk of a fire and protect the occupants.

“It’s all about the early notification to the occupants and to the 911 system,” Dorhauer said.

[Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct information from previous coverage of the fire and with the latest information from the meeting.]