Bill would require the owners of mobile home parks to sign an agreement with local fire protection districts to ensure adequate fire protection.
Inspired in part by a Peoria-area blaze, a proposed law that aims to improve fire safety in mobile home parks is headed to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s desk.
If signed into law, Senate Bill 2434 would require the owners of mobile home parks to sign an agreement with local fire protection districts to ensure adequate fire protection. For instance, the agreements would specify if the mobile home park has a water system capable of dealing with fire emergencies.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, in the Senate and co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Smith, D-Canton, in the House. The Senate voted 54-0 for it in April, and the House voted 110-0 for it last week.
Fires in mobile home parks can spread quickly because the homes are situated close to one another, Koehler said in a news release.
"This legislation is our attempt to make sure that the owners of mobile home parks have the resources necessary to deal with these emergencies, should they arise," he said. "It also makes sure that local fire protection districts know what they are up against should they be called to a fire at a mobile home park."
A fire last fall at Kingspark Estates destroyed the home of James and Lawanda Hewitt, 3424 Abbey Circle.
At the time, Brandon Witt of the Limestone Township Fire Department said there were problems with water pressure at the property when firefighters worked to put out the flames.
"We didn’t have very much water pressure in the hydrant lines," Witt, the department’s deputy chief, recalled on Tuesday.
Efforts to get comment from Kingspark officials were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Terry Nelson, president of the Mobile Home Owners Association of Illinois, said more than 300,000 people live in the roughly 2,000 mobile home parks in the state.
"It’s a shame we actually have to pass a law you have to tell the fire department" about the condition of hydrants at a mobile home park, she said.
Adriana Colindres can be reached at (217) 782-6292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.