CHICAGO—Although the start of a new year usually has people thinking about resolutions and future plans, it also is the day new laws and regulations typically go into force. For example, tomorrow is the deadline for pre-1975 residential high-rises to comply with the city’s Life Safety Evaluation ordinance. And officials from the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board say the outcomes of two recent high-rise fires highlights the importance of this particular deadline.

On the evening of December 20, a single fire sprinkler controlled a stove grease fire on the 23rd floor of the Adler Place residential high-rise on Chicago’s Near South Side, according to board officials. But a very different result occurred on December 28 in LaSalle Terrace, an Old Town residential high-rise without sprinklers. Flames from an accidental furnace fire were visible from street level and damaged the 19th floor.

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