ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — Five years ago the city of Roseville said a midrise safety ordinance was necessary. Now they’re saying it’s not.

“As our buildings grow taller, we need to rebuild our strategy and we feel building in fire systems is probably the most economic and most efficient way to do that.”

That was the former Roseville fire marshal, Dennis Mathison, five years ago, pushing for a safety ordinance the City Council approved. It was supposed to save the city millions in extra firefighters.

Fast-forward to today. The fire department supports repealing those regulations.

Why the about-face? Current Fire Marshal Jason Rizzi says the extra safety measures for five- to seven-story buildings are no longer necessary. The department now follows statewide fire standards.

“Absolutely, you’re talking about a code standard that is a national standard,” Rizzi said when asked if the buildings are still safe.

But even the city admits conformity isn’t the only reason for repealing the ordinance.

The extra safety features add about $350,000 to developer’s costs for built-in features to make fighting fires easier.

“We were in a different economy than we are today,” Community Development Director Chris Robles said. “Any costs associated with development no matter how small are significant today.”

Repealing the ordinance will mean hose systems already installed in the higher buildings in the city instead will have to be carried in by firefighters in addition to their other gear.

And what about the millions saved in not having to hire extra firefighters under the current ordinance? That money’s already been spent hiring those additional firefighters anyway.

The City Council is expected to officially repeal the ordinance Wednesday night.


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