City of Erie working on new daycare safety ordinances following Harris Family Daycare tragedy

Local News

A local Daycare fire that claimed the lives of five children was ruled accidental, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The fire that occurred back on August 11th originated from the living room due to a routinely used extension cord.

Now, the city is working to make sure procedures and regulations are in place to ensure the safety of children.

After ruling the cause of the fire, the city is now working on a new ordinance and compliance to maintain the safety for kids at daycares.

The work continues to close loopholes in fire inspections at daycare’s after the August 11th fire that took the lives of five young children. The goal is simple, to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.

“It could be tweaked at a later date if we want to add something to it or take something out of it. We want to definitely get something in the books for the safety of the citizens,” said James Winarski, President, Erie City Council.

The proposal could go into effect as early as November. If you’re looking to open a daycare of your own, there will be some new procedures.

“We would issue a new certificate of occupancy once a year. A fire inspector and a building inspector would go out and inspect the entire structure,” said Andy Zimmerman, Code Enforcement, City of Erie.

Those include a floor plan, location, and amount of smoke detectors. Zimmerman tells Action News that according to residential codes, daycare’s are required to have hardwired smoke detectors. This is an additional precaution the city is looking into.

In order to maintaining the safety of kids at daycare’s, there will now be a more extensive process while owning a facility. A part of the proposal is a brand new application that daycare owners will have to fill out.

“It gives the inspectors the idea of what they’re looking at when they’re going in. Also, it will also help the homeowners properly install the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors,” said Zimmerman.

A certificate of occupancy will be effective for one year until renewed. The city is also looking into a licensing fee for daycare owners, which will be used for fire safety training and fire inspections.

This will hopefully help indicate if the daycare is up to ordinance and safety regulations for kids.

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