Watertown father pushes for sprinkler legislation after daughter dies in fire

Politics

WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — A Watertown man whose daughter was killed in a fire while she was away at college is hoping Connecticut lawmakers will believe in his mission.

While trying to describe the deadly scene from January 21, 2012, Jeffrey Block still has a difficult time. His 21 year-old daughter, Eva, a Marist College senior, died in a fire that broke out at an off-campus house. Two of her friends also didn’t make it out alive. That house had no sprinkler system.

Over the last few months, Block has been urging Connecticut lawmakers to pass legislation that would force landlords to be up front with tenants about fire sprinkler systems. Kerry Fitzsimmons’ family helped get a similar law passed in New York in 2014. She was another victim in the deadly fire.

“It’s a piece of paper, 12-point font. I’m not asking anyone to take money out of their pocket. I’m not asking them to change the way they live. I’m just asking to raise awareness,” said Block.

He has has been working with state Senators Rob Kane and Joseph Crisco to get Senate Bill 103 passed. He testified before the Housing Committee and the bill passed unanimously in the Senate.

“Now it’s sitting on the House calendar and potentially going to die,” Block said.

He says all he hopes for in the final hours of this legislative session is a simple vote. He just wants to know that the bill made it to the floor.

“To save one innocent life in this opportunity that we have, it doesn’t cost anyone anything other than a notification,” said Block.

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