New Rock Island home sprinkler system requirement not as costly as some originally thought

ROCK ISLAND-- Brand new homes in Rock Island now have to have sprinkler systems. The first one built under the new code is for sale and Rock Island Fire Marshal Greg Marty says the first home is proving the idea is not as expensive as first thought.

Step inside and take a look around at the fresh interior and shiny new fixtures in this new Rock Island home. Then look up.

"Right now you are standing in a residential sprinkler protected house," says  Marty.

You'll find safety sprinklers in almost every room.

Back in November the city of Rock Island made these a requirement for all new homes.

"You virtually eliminate the chance of dying in your home when you have a sprinkler system," says Marty.

If there's a fire, the sprinklers will go off. In most cases, they put out the fire within minutes.

"Overwhelmingly, when we arrive at a fire with sprinklers, we're there for cleanup," says Marty.

But with the change came hesitation.

"We were somewhat discouraged, somewhat scared," says Rock Island home builder Bob Votroubek.

Potential new Rocky residents worried the change would cost too much.

One local group against the change estimated it would cost home owners an extra $4.24 a square foot to put in sprinklers.

"The data presented from the opposition is just not actually what we're seeing," says Marty.

This new house cost much less.

"The sprinkler was added at a cost of $1.63 per square foot," says Marty.

That translates to an extra $4,000 for this home.

The reality has changed the mind of this new home owner.

"After you find out more about it, read more about it, it's like wow. It's a no-brainer," says Votroubek.

Votroubek says the sprinkler system actually brings insurance costs down too.

Rock Island is the only city in the Quad Cities to have sprinklers required in city code.