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A new fire alarm requirement for apartment buildings in Scott is a step toward making residents safer, a local fire chief says.

The change to the township’s fire ordinance requires buildings with multiple units to install fire alarms that ring to a monitoring system.

The move comes as a result of two fires this year — one of them fatal — at the King’s Grant Condominiums off Cochran Road, one of the few multifamily complexes in the township that don’t have fire alarms that ring to an outside dispatcher.

Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to require all commercial apartment buildings with six units or more to install a monitoring system that would automatically notify emergency officials once a fire alarm is activated.

Zora Susnjer, 78, suffered second- and third-degree burns on her upper body after her clothes caught fire Feb. 7 while she cooked a hamburger. She died April 5 of complications from the burns.

Fire officials have said Susnjer’s death wouldn’t have been avoided if King’s Grant’s alarms rang to a fire company. A maintenance man noticed the fire and immediately called fire officials.

Still, Frank Salerno Jr., chief of Scott’s volunteer Glendale Fire Department, supported the change.

“Just due to the fact that we don’t have to rely on the residents to call the fire department and it goes through an alarm, that’s the biggest thing,” Salerno said. “Now they shouldn’t have to worry if the fire department’s called or not.”

Code enforcement officer Bill Quinn said fire marshals from each of the township’s three volunteer fire companies will be responsible for notifying building owners of the new law and keeping track of compliance.

“If there’s a problem, it’ll be up to me to take them to the magistrate,” Quinn said.

“The main thing about any fire alarm is to get the people out of the building first,” Quinn said. Now there will be “a better response for all fire departments.”

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