By Joel Waldman

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A still unidentified 90-year-old-man living on the 9th floor of the Ocean Summit met an ugly end, as fire raced thru his Fort Lauderdale apartment overnight.

Another person suffered minor injuries.

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Neighbor Rosalie Williams called 911, “As I came out the elevator on the 9th floor I could smell smoke and I could see black residue on the door.”

Nine-decades worth of life cut short. But, it didn’t need to end so abruptly admits Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas, “Sprinklers in the unit may have caused less fire, it would’ve activated in 10-20 seconds and put water on the fire. And put the fire out before we even got the call.”

You read that right. The Ocean Summit Condominium had no sprinkler system inside and, it’s far from the only one out of roughly 150 high-rises in Fort Lauderdale.

“We have 71 buildings that aren’t sprinkled,” announced Lucas.

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In fact, roughly half the city’s buildings do not have sprinkler systems, despite the state switching over to what’s known as Florida Fire Prevention Code, or one fire code for all, back in 2000.

“For 22 years legislature has allowed these buildings to stay unsprinkled due to legislation and existing building status,” explained Lucas.

The Fire Marshal explained that for more than two decades, for one reason or another, some politically motivated, the deadline for sprinkler system installation statewide has consistently been pushed further and further back. The latest deadline is still about two years away.

“On January 1st, 2024 we’re going to require you to put it in. Now, will it get put in by 2nd or 3rd, no! Is the building going to be declared unsafe? No.” Said Lucas.

Of the 71 unsprinklered buildings, the fire marshal tells us about 30 are exempt because they have outdoor balconies.

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One of the other reasons sprinkler systems have been pushed back is money with installation costing a building potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.