Mar 24, 2021 - Politics
Minnesota senators eye federal push for high-rise sprinklers
Minneapolis firefighters leave a building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood where a fire broke out on the 14th floor of the building in 2019. Photo: David Joles/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota's U.S. senators are renewing a push for federal funding to prevent a repeat of the deadly Cedar Riverside high-rise fire, Axios has learned.

The state of play: Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith will announce Wednesday that they're reintroducing legislation to create a $25 million grant program for public housing authorities to retrofit towers with sprinkler systems.

The issue: Many older public housing buildings, including Cedar Riverside, went up before sprinkler mandates. Investigators have said a working system could have prevented the five deaths in the November 2019 blaze.

What they're saying: "This bill gets right to the root of what we need to do: incentivize public housing authorities that want to to install sprinkler systems," Smith said in a statement provided to Axios.

Of note: State proposals to require sprinkler retrofitting are also working its way through the state Legislature.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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