Two weeks ago, a 25-year-old woman died in an apartment fire in Silver Spring, Maryland, and now the state’s lawmakers are hoping a new bill will make complexes safer.
“We want justice,” Cesar Diaz told our news partners at NBC Washington.
His daughter, Melanie Diaz, was killed during a fire at the Arrive Silver Spring apartment complex on Feb. 18.
In the wake of the fire, the Melanie Diaz Sprinklers Save Lives Act was introduced into the Maryland General Assembly last week.
Watch the video from WTOP’s news partner, NBC Washington.
“You know, I wish we had done it last year. I wish we had done it two years ago, had done it 15 … 20 years ago,” Del. Lorig Charkoudian, who sponsors the bill, told NBC Washington. “But we’re here and we just have to get it right now.”
The bill would require all high rise apartment complexes to give notification on all rental agreements and at all building entrances if the building is not equipped with sprinklers in every unit. While new buildings are now required to install sprinklers, older buildings, like Arrive Silver Spring, are not required to retrofit until 2033.
If passed the bill would also require high rise apartments to provide fire extinguishers to every unit without sprinklers.
“Nobody’s going to give me back my daughter but this law is going to save a lot of lives,” Cesar Diaz said.
In a statement, Arrive Silver Spring’s management offered condolences to the Diaz family. It wrote that all fire systems in the building were in working order and they were up to date on all codes.