Local fire officials say House Bill 360 would be a big risk in t - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local fire officials say House Bill 360 would be a big risk in the name of agrotourism

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A warehouse fire in California that killed 36 people should serve as a warning for all of Kentucky, Assistant Fire Marshal Brian Meurer said.

"A building was built for a purpose, and you use it for a different purpose without going through the proper procedures, then the Oakland warehouse fire can happen anywhere," Meurer said.

Meurer says it's the same principle when it comes to using old barns as wedding venues. House Bill 360 states agrotourism buildings like barns that hold fewer than 400 people, are 6,000 square feet or less and were built prior to 2017, would not need a stamp of approval from a state architect. 

Meurer says those buildings would not be brought to proper code and would allow hundreds of people in an unrated, unprotected structure. 

"A lot of the impression is, 'Oh what's the big deal? Just let them make some money," he said. "Well it's kind of a big deal to us."

Rep. Suzanne Miles, the bill's sponsor, says otherwise. 

"It's doesn't exclude them from any safety measures," she said. "Now if they have a local planning and zoning they still have to go to their local planning and zoning and get their conditional use permit."

The bill overwhelmingly passed in the House, 74-6. 

"It's a bit startling -- the risk they're willing to put their names to," Meurer said.

Meurer fears the language in the bill would serve as a loophole, and the buildings would not have correct fire safety measures like the number of exits and sprinklers. 

"It doesn't exclude any type of fire regulations that are in code now," Miles said. "As far as our safety ... It doesn't change anything currently that we have in law as fire safety."

The bill has passed through two senate committees and now heads to the full senate. 

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Fire officials oppose bill exempting sprinkler systems on barns used for weddings

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