The governor called the bill's heavy tax credits a government subsidy and more than an incentive. The Legislature will likely debate the veto June 25.
A lack of sprinklers is partly blamed for the death of nine firefighters in the Sofa Super Store blaze. Its one-year anniversary is June 18.
Update (4:06 p.m. June 12th): The Post and Courier has followed up and reports:
Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, said he was shocked by the governor's veto. Stavrinakis and several other Charleston lawmakers said they would work to make sure the Legislature overrides the governor's veto when they return later this month.
Update (12:15 p.m. June 19th): Live 5 News reports that support for the veto override continues to build:
Firefighters across the state and family members of fire victims are organizing to contact state lawmakers to urge them to override the governor's veto of a fire sprinkler bill.
Two fires last Saturday in Columbia illustrate the effectiveness of fire sprinklers. The first was in a 16-story high-rise apartment building, full of mostly elderly residents.
Assistant fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins says smoking material discarded in a kitchen drawer likely started the fire. The drawer burned along with the cabinet and part of the kitchen counter. But the heat from the fire set off the sprinkler head in the kitchen, which put out the fire. The damage was contained to part of the kitchen, no other sprinkler head went off and no one was hurt.
By contrast, another fire just a few hours later in a Columbia restaurant that was closed for the night gutted the building and did $375,000 worth of damage. The restaurant does not have sprinklers.