Council approves fire code change regarding high-rise sprinklers

Changes require city's 35 high-rise buildings to have automatic sprinklers

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council approved changes to the city fire code on Thursday that will require 35 existing high-rise buildings to have automatic sprinkler systems installed by 2028.

The change was spurred by the fire at the Wedgwood senior living apartment building in Castle Hills that killed six people last December.

The building did not have an automatic system because it was not a requirement when it was built.

The new requirements will be phased in over the next 12 years.

"For the first year, you will have a letter of intent. After three years, you're going to have to have your plans completed. Water to the building in six (years). Nine years for 50 percent and 12 years for total completion for that. And we will be enforcing that," San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.

Hood said he was part of a group that testified on Capitol Hill last week to find ways to get incentives for building owners to complete the sprinkler installations.

The 12-year phase-in period begins in January.