A sweet escape: Waterloo fire escape gets a makeover - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo fire escape gets a makeover

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by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) - A fireman's best friend when it comes to high-rise fires is the fire escape. A company that specializes in repairing these vital staircases says that across the country more than 75 percent of all fire escapes are in some state of disrepair.

The Park Tower Apartment building is one of less than a dozen buildings in Waterloo that have a fire escape. According to the Waterloo Fire Marshall every five years these fire escapes must be inspected.           

CJ Mozes is a fire escape inspector for Fire Escape Services, a company based in Massachusetts.

"We find anywhere from 75 to 80 percent of fire escapes we inspect that fail inspection," Mozes said.

This company is one of very few to do this kind of work.

"When we did the inspection here we found a lot of problems. Once the problems were found we provided a report telling the customer that all these problems need to be addressed right away because we did find emergencies like a broken tread. Treads are what you step on we had broken rails anything that's an emergency we notify the customer right away," said Mozes.

Today fire escapes are only found on older buildings, construction codes do not allow them to be built.

"Today with new construction you can't build a new fire escape. It's against the law to build a new fire escape on new construction. That's the key because what they will have to do is build an outside stair case on an older building when you don't have that luxury or option to build an inside staircase a fire escape is the only way," Mozes said.

Because there are so few companies that do this kind of work on fire escapes, the Waterloo Fire Marshall says the building's owner usually has to go through structural engineer to get the stair cases repaired.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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