NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – After more than a year of planning and fundraising, Chris and Amy Murray and their three children will soon move into their new home on Rebecca Lane.
That home, specially equipped to handle the disabilities of the Murray’s 10-year-old twin boys, also contains the best fire safety equipment available – a home sprinkler system.
The Murray’s sons, Michael and Eric, were born with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy and are wheelchair-bound. The Murray’s also have a 7-year-old daughter Katie.
At an open house Wednesday hosted by the Northbridge Fire Department, the importance of home sprinkler systems was the theme of the day.
Tim Travers, representing the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, said sprinklers are the only technology that stops the spread of fire, protecting people and property.
Statistics show that the very young, the old and the disabled are more likely to fall victim to fire, so the system is particularly important to the Murrays.
State Fire Marshal Stephen A. Coan said he isn’t proud of Massachusetts. He met Tuesday with the state Board of Building Regulations and asked again that the state require sprinkler systems in new homes.
“As I expected, the reception was not as positive as I’d like,’’ he said.
“Most people don’t believe they’ll be a victim of fire,’’ Coan noted, despite regularly hearing stories of the “horror of fire’’ almost daily. One such story stuck the neighboring town of Uxbridge just a week ago when a mother and her 7-year-old daughter were killed.
“With sprinklers we would not be hearing of such events,’’ Coan said.
Nestor said a fire at the former Whitin Machine Works in 1996 would have been far more destructive had there not been sprinklers in the area where the fire started.
Town Manager Ted Kozak and Nestor plan to discuss home sprinkler systems with the Planning Board, though towns are not allowed to adopt regulations stricter than the state.
The sprinkler system in the Murray home was donated by Viking Supply Inc., designed by Vixen Fire Protection Service and Scott Henderson, and installed by members of Sprinklerfitters UA Local 669 and 550.
Chris and Amy Murray are graduates of Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, and its students, though fundraising and design, helped make the Murray's new home possible.