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Building Code Changes Inspired by Fire Approved

Posted October 16, 2007

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— The City Council on Tuesday approved tighter building codes suggested after a February fire destroyed a north Raleigh townhouse complex.

A wind-driven fire on Feb. 22 destroyed 38 townhouses in the Pine Knoll Townes complex off Capital Boulevard. Authorities said they believe the fire was sparked by discarded smoking material.

The Raleigh Fire Department recommended changes to the city's building codes after reviewing a report by independent fire-safety experts. The rules would require builders to use non-combustible material for soffits – the paneling on the underside of eaves – and a certain type of vinyl siding designed to slow the spread of the fire. The proposal also calls for keeping pine straw and other combustible landscaping materials away from buildings.

City officials said the new rules wouldn't prevent a fire, but could keep one from spreading like the Pine Knoll Townes fire.

The recommendations will be forwarded to the state Building Council for review.

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