The Salem government has proposed a new regulation that requires the installation in new offices of water sprinklers automatically triggered by the presence of a smoke or a fire. However, a popular builder argued that because more than 90 percent of such fires are extinguished by a security personnel who is appointed for safety, such sprinklers would only marginally decrease property damage caused by such fires.

Which of the following, if true, would most seriously weaken the builder’s argument?

  1. Most individuals have no formal training in how to extinguish fires.
  1. Since new offices are only a tiny percentage of available offices in the city, the new regulation would be extremely narrow in scope.
  2. The installation of smoke detectors in new offices costs significantly less than the installation of water sprinklers.
  1. In the city where the regulation was proposed, the average time required by the fire department to respond to a fire was less than the national average.
  1. The largest proportion of property damage that results from such fires is caused by fires that start when no members in office are present.

OA : E

Explanation : The argument says that installing water sprinklers is not beneficial because the fires are generally put off by security personnel. Since this is a weakening question, we need to find an answer choice that breaks this causality. 

A – The argument says that the security personnel would anyway put off the fires. Hence, this can be eliminated. 

B – Since the argument talks only about percentages, we are not worried about the scope of the proposal. Hence, eliminated. 

C – The cost is not a matter of concern. Hence, eliminated. 

D – The argument is not a comparison between water sprinklers and the fire department. Hence, eliminated. 

E – This tells us that the builder is wrong. Hence, this is the right answer. 


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