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06/29/94 ORLAND FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT v.

June 29, 1994

ORLAND FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
INTRASTATE PIPING AND CONTROLS, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable James F. Stack, Judge Presiding.

Rehearing Denied November 3, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied February 1, 1995.

Greiman, Tully, Cerda

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Greiman

JUSTICE GREIMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiff Orland Fire Protection District appeals the trial court's rulings finding defendant Intrastate Piping and Controls, Inc. not guilty of violating two local ordinances which require the installation of automatic sprinkler systems with an adequate water supply in buildings of more than 8,000 square feet.

The issue raised by plaintiff on appeal is whether the trial court erred in finding that defendant's facility consists of separate buildings for the purpose of plaintiff's Fire Safety Code (Code). Defendant also challenges whether the ordinance is void for lack of statutory authority and whether the complaints properly charged defendant with violating any ordinance.

We reverse the trial court's finding as contrary to the manifest weight of evidence in that the square footage of the premises exceeds 8,000 square feet as defined by the Code and also find the two issues raised by defendant are without merit.

In 1987 defendant constructed a facility which includes three structures: a warehouse, a garage and an office building. The structures basically stand in a line with the warehouse at one end, the office building at the other end, and the garage in the middle. The two-story office structure is about 6,400 square feet. The garage is about 960 square feet. The size of the warehouse was disputed at trial with plaintiff claiming it measured 8,131 square feet and defendant claiming it measured 7,992 square feet.

The parties do not dispute that (1) the Code requires automatic fire suppression systems to be installed in all buildings or structures with more than 8,000 square feet in the total area; (2) the Code mandates that every automatic sprinkler system have an adequate water supply; (3) defendant's facility includes a warehouse, a garage and an office (although they do not agree whether these structures constitute a single building); (4) the combined square footage of the three structures exceeds 8,000 square feet; (5) defendant has not installed a sprinkler system in its facility; and (6) defendant warranted, by written agreement dated May 18, 1988, that its facility would be in full compliance with the Code by April 5, 1992.

Section F-201.1(6) of the "Definitions" section of the Code provides:

"For purposes of this article, total area means the total area including mezzanines and basements contained within the surrounding exterior walls of a building on all floors and levels added together. The area included within the surrounding exterior walls of a building shall include roof overhangs and extensions and all enclosed extensions. Areas of a building not provided with surrounding walls shall be included within the building area if such areas are included within the horizontal projection of the roof or floor above. Interior walls, including fire walls, fire separation walls, and party walls, shall not be considered as walls which divide a structure into two or more separate buildings, but structures containing such interior walls shall be considered as one building for the purposes of this Section."

On June 25, 1992, plaintiff filed two complaints against defendant. The first complaint (CC 725-530) stated that defendant committed an offense under "chapter 4, section 402.8" by its "failure to install a sprinkler system and supply an adequate supply of water." The second complaint (CC 725-531) stated that defendant violated "chapter 2, section 2-1" because defendant had "no sprinkler system and no water supply."

On August 20, 1992, the trial court conducted a trial where three witnesses testified (Thomas Lia, a fire prevention supervisor for plaintiff; John Nastav, president of defendant; and Edmund Joanis, a civil engineer hired by defendant). Most of the testimony elicited concerned the procedures used to measure the warehouse and the results of the measurements. Plaintiff presented its case maintaining that the warehouse measured 8,131 square feet. Defendant presented its case maintaining that the warehouse measured 7,992 square feet.

Lieutenant Thomas Lia, as the fire prevention supervisor for plaintiff, reviewed defendant's building plans in November 1987 and submitted a report to defendant indicating that the total structure, i.e., "all areas of the building, the office, garage, and warehouse," required a sprinkler fire suppression system. Lia's report was followed by a March 16, 1988, letter which stated that ...


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