STAMFORD, Conn. — Two months after five people were killed in a fire Christmas morning in Stamford, the state legislature is proposing a law that would ensure that homes and residences have smoke detectors.
The initial investigation into the deadly fire that killed sisters Lily, Grace and Sarah Badger and their grandparents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, could not determine whether there were working smoke detectors in the home.
The legislature's bill would require any residential building that holds a certificate of occupancy granted before Oct. 1, 1985, to have battery-powered smoke detectors and warning equipment, a press release reports. The bill would also mandate that a certificate of occupancy could not be obtained unless a fire marshal or building official verified that the residence has smoke detectors and warning equipment, and unless exempt, carbon monoxide detectors and warning equipment as well, the release said.
The bill was proposed by state Rep. Gerald Fox III, D-Stamford. The Badger home was located in Fox’s district.
"The difference between a home containing working smoke detectors and warning equipment and working carbon monoxide detectors and warning equipment and a home that does not contain these critical and life-saving measures can mean the difference between life and death," state Rep. Michael Molgano, R-Stamford, said while testifying before the Public Safety and Security Committee on Tuesday.
While the state legislature has just began its deliberations on the bill, the city took action in January, when it received 1,000 alarms from First Alert. Members of the Stamford Volunteer Fire Department held three separate giveaway events for residents.
“We can’t change what happened Christmas morning, but maybe we can prevent something else from happening,” said Thaddeus Jankowski, Stamford’s director of Public Safety, Health and Wellness.
If passed by the legislature, the bill requiring smoke detectors and warning equipment would go into effect Oct. 1.