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Manufactured Home Commission Under Fire, After Fire

March 30th, 2017
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Credit: OMHA.

A recent manufactured home fire in Urbana, Ohio, has officials across the state calling for bold action.

Their target is the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission.

According to the Dayton Daily News, fire officials across Ohio are backing a proposal by Governor John Kasich to abolish what they call an “industry-controlled agency that regulates manufactured homes,” saying the commission does too little to protect manufactured home residents from deadly fires.

The Ohio Fire Chief’s Association sent a letter to lawmakers last week supporting a provision in the state budget to kill the commission and roll its functions into the Ohio Department of Commerce. The Daily Business News covered the response from the commission in a story linked here.

30 people died in 1,208 manufactured home fires between 2012 and 2016,” said the letter from the Association.

Ohioans are 4.2 times more likely to die in a manufactured home that caught fire than one- or two-family home.”

The Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission is responsible for licensing inspectors across the state, who oversee the installation of about 3,000 homes a year. It also regulates the state’s 1,600 manufactured home communities. The commission has oversight from a nine-member board, which is appointed by the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly.

For its detractors in the state, the Commission also has its supporters.

I believe wholeheartedly, whether I sit on the commission or not, it’s one of the best things that’s happened to the manufactured home community in Ohio,” said Evan Atkinson, general manager of Clayton Homes in Frazeyburg and a commissioner on the board.

Since the commission was created, the number of complaints about mobile home installation has plummeted from hundreds to a number you can count on one hand. What’s proposed now is to fragment it and stick it back out into deep bureaucracy.”

Atkinson says that the commission currently requires inspection of every single home installed in Ohio, and points out that it’s a commitment the Department of Commerce has not made.

I believe there’s a probably a good likeliness that homes may not be installed as well as they are currently being installed,” said Atkinson.

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Credit: Stoveguard, MHLivingNews.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, we have pointed out the facts versus myths surrounding manufactured homes and fires, pointing out that homes built under post-1976 federal regulations have the same rates in this area as traditional homes.

Ohio Fire Marshal Larry Flowers insists that moving the inspection and licensing of manufactured homes into the Department of Commerce, where his agency is, will allow them to coordinate better on fire prevention.

What we believe is that there just needs to be more oversight and transparency in the process when these things are inspected initially,” said Flowers.

This will allow us to work more closely together with our partners in the department of commerce.

But Atkinson says that working more closely together isn’t an issue.

If that is a major concern, the folks within the commission would be more than willing to work with the state fire marshal as well,” said Atkinson.

The commission would welcome the opportunity to work with the state fire marshal and be able to get 100 percent of manufactured homes inspected and installed properly.” ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


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