Officials Advise Property Owners to Update Buildings to Current City Code

3 years 4 weeks 23 hours ago Tuesday, March 13 2018 Mar 13, 2018 March 13, 2018 8:41 PM March 13, 2018 in News

HIDALGO – Firefighters continue searching for the cause of a warehouse fire in Hidalgo. It left employees out of a job and a family out of business.

The city and fire department tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS there were no citations issued at the property. It doesn’t mean it was up to the current building code.

It took several tankers to put out the flames at Annabel's Ropa Usada warehouse. The cause is currently unknown. What is known is that the building lacked a safeguard in cases of fire.

"There was no fire sprinklers," said Hidalgo Fire Chief Robert Rojas.

Code Enforcement Officer Francisco Martinez tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS the building was constructed in the 2000s. It conforms to the code of that time, not the current one.

Martinez says buildings don't need to be brought up to current code unless they remodel or add to the structure.

Rojas said it may not be required, but updating your buildings can help prevent losses like these.

"We know it's expensive but that's going to protect their property and their equipment," he said.

Rojas says other warehouses on Produce Road are not up to the current building code either.

The code enforcement director says the city of Hidalgo is implementing the building code of 2012.

He says the city is considering updating their building code to the one of 2015. That's a decision that needs to go before council.

We also took a look at how cities are rated for their fire suppression systems.

U.S. cities are rated every ten years by the Insurance Services Office, or ISO, as part of their Public Protection Classification System.

The Texas Department of Insurance oversees the program in Texas. Class 1 is the highest rating and a 10 is the worst.

Public Protection Classification (PPC) Ratings for Rio Grande Valley Cities
Alamo 5 2013
Alton 3 / 3x 2017
Brownsville 3 / 10 2008
Donna 6 / 10 2013
Edcouch-Elsa 6 / 6x* Effective 4/18 2017
Edinburg 3 / 10 2010
Escobares 10* F.D. not recognized 1997
Falfurrias 6 2017
Harlingen 3 / 10 2007
Hidalgo 6 1998
La Feria 4 / 4Y 2018
La Grulla 8 / 8x 1999
La Joya 5 / 5x* Effective 4/18 2017
La Rosita 6 / 6x 2013
Los Fresnos 6 2008
Los Indios 10* Not surveyed
McAllen 2 / 2x 2016
Mercedes 5 2013
Mission 4 / 10 2010
Olmito 10* Not surveyed
Palmhurst 5 / 5x 2010
Palmview 5 / 5x 2007
Penitas 6 / 6x* Effective 4/18 2017
Pharr 3 2014
Port Isabel 5 2015
Progreso 10* F.D. not recognized 1998
Raymondville 5* Temporarily assigned 1994
Rio Grande City 7 / 7x 2014
Rio Hondo 5 / 5Y 2018
Roma 7 1999
San Benito 5 / 10 2011
San Juan 5 / 10 2013
South Padre Island 4 2017
Weslaco 4 2016

The city of Hidalgo holds a Class 6 rating from 1996. McAllen was among the highest in the Rio Grande Valley with a Class 2 given in 2016. La Grulla came in with one of the lowest scores with a Class 8 awarded in 1999.

These scores factor in the fire departments’ capabilities, water supply and distribution, and handling fire alarms.

Jerry Hagins, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Insurance, explains how these ratings play a role in homeowners’ insurance.

“There are many factors that go into our premium, but a community’s PPC rating is one of them. The better the rating, the more savings on insurance. Ultimately, insurance premiums are based on losses. So, the fewer losses, the cheaper the insurance will be.”

If a city believes its fire suppression system has improved, they can request a new survey from the ISO.

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