MEDFORD, Ore. -- Firefighters are pushing for Medford to adopt new housing codes to prevent homes from burning to the ground.
In 2008, California adopted new building codes for fire-prone regions. Last year during the Paradise Camp Fire in California, 51% of homes built with these codes were undamage. Now cities in Oregon are looking to adopt the same codes.
The codes were already proposed to the state of Oregon by Greg Kleinburg, Medford's Deputy Chief and Fire Marshall. Now areas just have to decide whether or not they want to adopt them.
NewsWatch12 spoke with Kleinburg about the codes and he says southern oregon needs to adopt these new codes because we are in such a high risk area for fires.
"Current code has no provision to protect homes from wildfire," Kleinburg said. However, current code does have provisions to protect from floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Kleinburg is fighting to have Medford adopt the wildfire codes.
"For the past decade or more, we've seen these intense fires just take out subdivisions, sometimes whole towns," Kleinburg said. "I absolutely think that this needs to be done. if you look at the fires like campfire in paradise california 51% of the homes survived."
Kleinburg first started pushing for these codes in 2016. after Medford's Battalion Chief, Mark Burns, died.
"When a house burns, there's a lot of bad products that can combust, it can all cause cancer and it's all really, really bad for you," Kleinburg said.
Burn was managing Ashland's Oak Knoll fire in 2010. That fire burned down 11 homes.
"He took in a lot of smoke in his lungs and he ended up dying in 2016 as a result. His death is considered a line-of-duty death," Kleinburg told NewsWatch12.
The Executive Officer of Builders' Association Southern Oregon, Brad Bennington, said the extra cost wouldn't be worth it.
"We have to find a way to create affordable housing for our young people, so they don't just keep leaving the area," Bennington said.
He said the focus should be on improving older homes and making them safer because he said the newer homes are already safe.
"Right here in Jackson County we are building the safest, strongest homes that have ever been built in the history of mankind."
The medford council will vote on these new codes this fall.