Would you believe me if I were to tell you that every single child born in the State of Missouri exits the womb with 100% of all of the skill and knowledge required by the state to electrically wire the residential care facility where you have moved your grandmother to live?
No, it is not a mystery contained in the water…the air…or DNA. Instead, it is the fact that the State of Missouri has never established any minimum basic standards for builders and contractors in the state.
While electrical fires are destroying lives, homes and businesses throughout the rural and unregulated areas of the state on a monthly basis, less than one-third of Missouri counties and cities have acted to protect its citizens with minimum basic building standards, otherwise known as “building codes”.
One such area is Anderson, Missouri, where almost three years ago in November of 2006, ten residents sleeping in a State of Missouri registered residential care facility burned to death in their beds in the middle of the night when a fire started in the attic and reduced the entire facility to smoke and rubble. While an “official cause” has never been determined, open and unprotected electrical wire splices were found in what was dry cellulose insulation in the attic where arcing could produce such a fire.
In August of 2009, in another State of Missouri registered residential care facility in Cassville, Missouri, I inspected an identically insulated attic that had the identical electrical defects. It was a facility that an inspector from the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s office had approved after applying all of the recommendations from the State designed to preclude a repeat of the Anderson fire.
When I asked the inspector how such conditions could exist in a facility that he had approved, he replied that he was “not an electrician”. He went on to explain that “When there is another ‘Anderson’” and not “if”, the State might get serious enough about fire prevention in all of these facilities to “implement more effective changes”.
Until then, in jurisdictions with no building codes or licensed contractors, the electrical systems that are running through the walls and attics of Missouri residential care centers for elderly and otherwise impaired residents continue to have never been fully inspected for compliance with the minimum basic safety standards by a licensed electrician in spite of the recent tragedy in Anderson, Missouri.