WHITE PLAINS — In the wake of the Bengal Tiger fire, the city Building Department will survey how many downtown businesses, especially bars and restaurants, have sprinkler systems.
The survey, which was requested by the Common Council last week, could be used to try to push more businesses to add sprinklers in their buildings, council President Thomas Roach said.
"We want everyone with sprinklers because it can save lives, as well as preserve property, and make the city a better place to live and work in," Roach said.
Roach said the council was looking for ways to improve the city's fire-prevention efforts in the wake of the July 7 fire, which destroyed a half-block building on East Post Road.
The Bengal Tiger, a landmark Indian restaurant that opened in 1974, did not have sprinklers in its establishment.
After the Building Department documents how many businesses lack sprinkler systems, council members will consider their next step, Roach said.
For now, they expect to push for more aggressive enforcement of current fire and building codes and consider ways to entice more businesses to add sprinklers.
Roach said he believes the city's fire and building inspections are thorough and rigorous, but that the council wanted to see if there was more that could be done.
Building Commissioner Damon Amadio said all new commercial constructions require sprinkler systems, but that older businesses have been grandfathered and are allowed to remain without them. An older establishment would be required to add sprinklers — which cost at least a few thousand dollars to install — only if it expanded or increased its occupancy.
Amadio said the Building Department encourages all businesses to add sprinklers, which ware the most preferred form of built-in fire prevention, but that in many cases, it can't force a business to install them.