Council President Tom Hucker (D-District 5) yesterday introduced two bills intended to improve safety in residential buildings, primarily multi-family and multi-story units.
Expedited Bill 50-20 – Landlord-Tenant Relations – Fire Safety – Removal of Mercury Service Regulators would require landlords to schedule the immediate replacement of indoor mercury service gas regulators with safer, more modern regulators, according to the council staff report.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that an August 2016 explosion and fire that killed seven people at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring was caused when a failing mercury service regulator, which was not connected to a vent line, allowed natural gas to build up and ignite.
“We have to do everything in our power to ensure that we never have another tragedy like the fatal Flower Branch explosion,” Hucker said in a press release. “Now that the federal government has told us that many other properties have the type of outdated, dangerous equipment that caused the Flower Branch explosion, we have to make sure that landlords work with the gas utility to replace them.”
Bill 51-20 – Housing and Building Maintenance Standards –Window Guards would require landlords to install and maintain window guards in certain rental housing, and provide for the enforcement of window guard requirements, among other provisions.
“As recently as October, a two-year-old boy died after he fell from a third-floor apartment in Takoma Park,” according to a press release. “In 2019, a two-year-old boy fell from an 11th-floor window and was seriously hurt in Takoma Park.”
Public hearings on both bills are scheduled for Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m.