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Blanton: State building code came from tragedy

There is no mistaking the fact that Building Safety Month (May) holds a special meaning in Kentucky.

It has been 40 years since Kentucky was the scene of one of the worst tragedies in our nation.

On May 28, 1977 (Memorial Day weekend) the fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky, took the lives of 165 people. The tragic deaths were the result of lack of design, improper construction, unauthorized alterations, no enforcement and the list goes on and on.

As a result of the tragedy, we in Kentucky took the opportunity to make improvements to our system of building code regulation and enforcement. After investigation, litigation and legislation we are now unified under one statewide building code with enforcement throughout the Commonwealth by qualified and trained inspectors.

Kentucky Gov. Julian Carroll undertook the task of making us all safer in the places we live, work and gather.

The adoption of a statewide code which mandates performance standards such as sprinkler systems, firewalls and egress requirements that are designed for the occupancy and inspected for compliance.

When you enter a structure, you need not think about your safety or how to exit in the event of an emergency. You can thank the architects, builders and inspectors for your peace of mind.

May is Building Safety Month across our nation, and the International Code Council encourages everyone to acknowledge the reasons that our built environment is safe for us all to enjoy.

Let us remember our past building mistakes and learn from them while we recognize the job of our local and state inspectors. Be it the building, plumbing, electrical or HVAC inspector they all serve to ensure our well-being.

We should all thank them for the job they do and pray any future tragedy like Beverly Hills can be avoided.

Robert Blanton is a magistrate on the Clark County Fiscal Court and former city manager of Winchester.