Deadly Missouri Home Fire Prompts Call for Safety Review

ANDERSON, Mo. – A fire that killed 10 people in a group home in Missouri has prompted state policymakers to review safety rules for residential care facilities, according to a report by the Associated Press.

A preliminary investigation by inspectors ruled out arson and indicated that faulty attic wiring may have caused the fire. Although the building was almost completely destroyed, investigators said that electrical wiring in the attic was the only likely cause.

The fire occurred the morning of Nov. 27 at the Anderson Guest House in southwest Missouri. Of the 33 residents and two staff members in the building, 10 died of smoke inhalation, while others were treated for related injuries, the report says.

The fire likely started in the attic and burned for an unknown amount of time before it penetrated through into the living space, the report says.

On Nov. 29, Gov. Matt Blunt responded to the tragedy, one of Missouri’s deadliest fires, by ordering an immediate review of all regulations governing safety in facilities. Assistant Vice President for Building and Life Safety Codes at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Robert Solomon said the fire could compel other states to review their own fire safety regulations.

Legislators claimed they would also consider mandating the installation of sprinkler systems in homes. According to the state Department of Health and Senior Services, 61 percent of Missouri’s 626 residential care facilities are exempt from sprinkler requirements, including the Anderson group home.

Missouri Fire Marshal Randy Cole said investigators found evidence that wiring in the attic may have been improperly spliced, a violation of nationally-accepted building codes.

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