Burn Victim Shares Her Story
"I will live with these scars physically and emotionally for my entire life." Rebekah Johnson is a burn survivor of an electrical house fire. 50 percent of her body is covered in 2nd and 3rd degree scars."It was early morning and a spark set my bed on fire, which set my bed on fire, which set me on fire."
She says this fire could have been prevented, with a certain type of circuit that detects faulty electrical wiring. Now these circuits are mandatory in all bedrooms and bathrooms. In 2014, the national electrical code required these circuits in kitchens and laundry rooms too.
However, Florida didn't immediately adopt that policy. Today, the Florida Building Commission opened the topic up for discussion again. But the Homeowners Association was allegedly against adding these circuits in kitchens and laundry rooms.
Alachua County Fire Rescue's Mark Smith says, "The homeowners association is always looking to cut costs when building a home. And so the cost is basically what it boils down to. Even with their high estimate at $200 a home, that's a pretty insignificant cost when you're talking about the life safety at this level."
But the Florida Building Commission voted today, after listening to Rebekah's story, to put these circuts in all kitchens and laundry rooms. Rebekah says, "They can keep families safe. Every year, we see knew survivors coming to the camp that I'm a part of, and it's sad because I know that they can be prevented."
A unanimous 9-0 vote means that Florida will require new homes to have these circuits in laundry rooms and kitchens. This will apply to all homes built starting in 2017.