Sprinkler fitter Derek Swanson, with Mission Fire Sprinkler LLC, installs a sprinkler head in the Strauss Building which is being renovated to be a restaurant in downtown Chattanooga.Staff Photo by Dan Henry
After a debate that has lasted several weeks, the City Council voted 5-3 to defer for two additional months a fire code ordinance that would have required bars falling under the city's definition of a "nightclub" to install expensive sprinker systems.
Murphy recommended that the city study the economic impact of the new fire codes during the two month deferral. The new code would give businesses three years to install sprinklers that could cost more than $100,000, change the way they do business or shut their doors.
Business owners have said the ordinance would force them to close, resulting in a loss of jobs and a less vibrant downtown.
Fire officials said the sprinklers are a safety necessity, though there have been no nightclub fires with fatalities in Tennessee's recorded history.
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Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...