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Dozens of apartment complexes lack sprinkler systems in Round Rock

Firefighters say buildings without a sprinkler system pose a greater risk to both human property and lives.

AUSTIN, Texas — About half of all complexes inspected by Round Rock Fire Department do not have sprinkler systems to help fight fires, according to records from the City.

In a recent investigation, the KVUE Defenders discovered a Round Rock apartment building damaged from a fire did not have sprinkler system. That fire displaced 22 renters.

In response to a public records request, the City of Round Rock provided inspection data for every apartment complex monitored by the Round Rock Fire Department. 

RELATED: Property managers promise to make things right after Round Rock apartment fire

The department inspects 74 apartment complexes in Round Rock every year. Of those 74 complexes, 34 do not have a sprinkler system. 

Round Rock Fire Department's Assistant Fire Marshal Mark Selby said not every building is required to have a sprinkler system because the fire code at the time the building was constructed may not have required it.

"There’s quite a few apartment complexes around the City of Round Rock and Georgetown and Austin, and all those that were built years ago that were not required to have sprinkler systems," Selby said.

RELATED: Investigators plead for tips one year after deadly Iconic Village apartment fire

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the 2009 edition of the International Code Council's International Residential Code marked the first year where apartment complexes were required to be built with sprinkler systems. 

However, some buildings constructed after 2009 may not need sprinkler systems because they were approved under prior fire codes.

Even though older apartment complexes are not required to retrofit buildings without sprinkler systems, firefighters said installing those systems can increase safety and fire protection.

"Having a fire sprinkler system in a structure is always for the fire service is a good idea, because it does save property and lives," Selby said.

RELATED: Defenders find other apartments at risk after fatal San Marcos fire

This data follows 2018 investigation from the KVUE Defenders, where we found several complexes in Central Texas do not have a sprinkler system. 

You can see the full list of apartment complexes inspected by Round Rock Fire Department, and whether they have sprinklers, below.


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