Sprinklers are not too much to ask

Dear President Trump,

I just checked to see if you have Tweeted about the man who died in the fire in Trump Tower yesterday, but I couldn’t find anything beyond your insistence that it is well built. I did see that you got out of installing sprinklers in TT even though high-rise residential buildings were supposed to be retrofitted with them in the 1990’s. Apparently you installed them in another building and acknowledged that people feel safer when there are sprinkler systems in place (no doubt because they actually are safer, but still, that was nice of you to say). So what happened, why not put them in TT? Do the sections that you and your family stay in have sprinklers? Just curious.

I only think about it when fire engines go by or fires are in the news, so not every day, but yesterday’s news brought back memories of when our house burned down. It was the day after Christmas and I was eight. My sisters and I were at some friends’ house and my parents had left my brothers home with a baby sitter. Fortunately they were on the first floor when the fire broke out and the baby sitter was able to get them out safely, but the house was devastated. I’m not sure why we went back in a couple of weeks later, but it was awful; the smell, the chaos, and the loss were all stunningly horrible. There were charred toys and books and clothes strewn around and I remember wanting to gather up the bits from my baby book, especially the ticket stubs from Disneyland with Tinkerbell on them. I remember my mom saying I had to leave it all there because it was dirty and smelly. It was, but I wanted them anyway. When virtually everything that was familiar and yours is suddenly gone or damaged beyond repair, even dirty smelly stray bits seem precious.

We were able to rebuild and eventually moved back in so I didn’t have the experience of being completely displaced. I do, though, often think about what it must be like for people who lose everything through natural disasters, fires, or violence. Were they able to grab something, anything on their way out that might help them hold on to a sense of home, might help them hold onto a sense of themselves when they were a someone with a home? I hope so.

May we have homes and may our homes be safe.
May we be happy to put in sprinklers to help people feel and be safer.
May we take care so our homes are healthy, safe havens.
May we hold those who have been displaced gently and welcome them to new homes among us.

Tracy Simpson

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