Detector bill nearly goes up in smoke

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A bill that would require homeowners to have a specific type of smoke detectors in new houses has been sent back to committee for more work after running into opposition at the Statehouse.

The bill would require photoelectric smoke detectors, rather than the more common ionization types, because backers say the photoelectric detectors do a better job providing early warning in a smoldering fire.

But during Senate debate yesterday, questions were raised about whether the bill would require hard-wired smoke detectors to be installed in existing homes whenever there’s a renovation that triggers a change in the building permit.

Some senators worry that something as innocuous as putting a deck on a home might trigger a requirement for extensive electrical work. The bill was put aside for a day so its sponsors can clarify answers to that and other questions.

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