LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On kitchen fires, Maryland and West Dover Connector

I see Paul Eichler, chairman of Delaware Fire Sprinkler Coalition, has written his opinion regarding legislation of sprinkler systems in private housing, as printed in the Delaware State News Sunday Sept. 10. I don’t necessarily take exception to his opinion that fire suppression systems save lives but I do take exception to quite a bit more in his epistle.

First and foremost it must be understood by readers that Mr. Eichler is in the business of selling these systems and secondly the reader must take note that Mr. Eichler and his coalition wants to legislate everyone being forced to have these systems. It is for the latter reason that I question his concern for that “vulnerable” element of society he mentioned as living in what he would likely regard as substandard housing because they probably do not have these systems. Most can hardly afford the rents or mortgages they pay as it is so Mr. Eichler, don’t play on their fears and more affluent people’s concern for that sector in an effort to turn a buck in your favor.

I lived in dormitories and apartments for years, none of them ever burned down. The only fires I knew of were from careless smoking, cooking and unattended irons. The fire alarms were adequate for rousing even the deepest sleepers while anyone with a lick of sense had a fire extinguisher readily available in their kitchens. Indeed, many fire departments refill extinguishers without charging their owners and some even give extinguishers away periodically.

I am not a landlord but I assure you if I was, any fire suppression system I was legislated into having to put into my rental units would be paid for by the tenants. So where’s Mr. Eichler’s concern for those people’s economic condition in such a circumstance?

As for my current two-year-old house, if it looks like the Delaware state legislature is going to get as inane as Maryland’s and California’s then I will begin picketing on The Green.

Mind you, Mr. Eichler, you brought up California and Maryland in your opinion piece and I intend to address that. California is known to be bone dry and has a long, horrible history of wildfires. I don’t recall the last time I heard of a wildfire in Delaware but I do have a vague recollection of a marsh fire that was readily suppressed by our stalwart fire departments.

As for Maryland having legislated these suppression systems in private homes, I question that notion your letter advanced. Regardless I have little respect for anything that comes out of Maryland Mr. Eichler and let me tell you why.

Nathan Hayward, former Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s director of the Department of Transportation was a Marylander who moved here only to assume the aforementioned position. Now, I’m not one given to speaking ill of the dead but when it comes to Hayward I’ll make an exception. I hold him and Gov. Minner in contempt over the construction of the West Dover Connector. Despite its official popular name, that road will always be “The Connector” to me.

This road has yet to open and has already proven itself a fiasco on several different levels. Mr. Hayward certainly left Delaware with one devil of a legacy considering I heard him say that all the engineering contracts were going to Maryland firms because Delaware just didn’t have the necessary talent to manage such a project. Moreover he gave my husband the “bird” while we were protesting outside his offices on Bay Road in Dover; how classy.

Additionally and quite interestingly I was told that all those study groups that were held; as if the location of the road was preordained; were catered by Maryland concerns having familial ties to Mr. Hayward. I never partook of anything offered at those meetings because I hold to the ancient tradition of not breaking bread with my adversaries and the more modern adage “there is not such thing as a free lunch.”

Actually, Mr. Eichler, you’d make more headway in this ridiculous campaign by lobbying the insurance companies. Nothing gets done in this country without their blessing because they value the dollar even more than you do and I suspect that says a whole lot.

Lastly, take pause and deliberate on how tenacious I am; you really don’t want me on this topic. As you can see I’m still obsessed about The Connector which I intend the state of Delaware should never, ever live down.

Carol Hotte

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