Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center lacks fire safety
The city's fire department is allowing the center to function despite the lack of sprinklers and smoke detectors.
By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY
December 23, 2007 08:23
1 minute read.
ta theater 88 224.
(photo credit: )
Just one week after a lack of fire safety mechanisms caused a fire at Tel Aviv's central bus station, the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv has uncovered another instance in which the city is allowing a large institution to operate without valid fire safety precautions. The Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center (Mishkan Le'Omanuyot Habamah), which contains the Israeli Opera House and the Cameri Theater, is being allowed to function without any sprinklers in the lobby, in breach of regulations, and is planning to install smoke detectors only at the end of next year. The center attracts thousands of visitors at a time.
According to the report, the city's fire department is allowing the center to function despite the lack of sprinklers and smoke detectors. An unidentified senior municipal official said there was "no explanation" for the exemption, and the law requires that places used for public gatherings contain sprinklers. The official said sprinklers save lives and help firefighters in their work in the event of a blaze, not only by dousing flames directly, but also by lowering temperatures and preventing dangerous smoke from building up.
The report said the city should have had sufficient warning the previous week, when a fire broke out in a store at the central bus station, which also has been allowed to operate without sprinklers. Accumulated smoke and high temperatures caused an explosion that seriously injured two firefighters. The report said it is "absurd" that firefighters have struggled for years to have fire safety mechanisms installed at the bus station, but the city has allowed it time and again to continue operating without them. It also said it is absurd that the Performing Arts Center is a relatively new building that has been completed in recent years, and yet it did not include the required fire safety mechanisms.
A municipal spokesman said senior officials had toured the building and had decided that there was "no need" for a sprinkler system in the lobby.
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