As reported by Leesburg Patch, a fire in a townhouse in Landsdowne, located in Loudoun County, VA was doused by the activation of a single fire sprinkler.
The fire started in the garage, a non-living area not required to be sprinklered by NFPA 13D - Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. However, homeowners sometimes prefer to add one more fire sprinkler in the garage as added protection.
The single fire sprinkler activation possibly saved the lives of the occupants by not allowing the fire and smoke to spread to other areas of the home. The fire department was dispatched close to 1 a.m., a time that is included in the interval when half of all fire deaths occur; between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
As stated in the article the fire sprinkler activation reduced fire property damage significantly. In doing so, the residents were able to continue living in the home after the fire department cleared the atmosphere of any lingering smoke and declared it safe.
The public information officer of the Landsdowne Fire Department did an excellent job communicating the impact of home fire sprinklers by adding in its press release: “A residential sprinkler system activation has once again highlighted the importance of residential sprinkler systems after it extinguished a small fire at a townhome in Lansdowne last Wednesday.”
In other news related to this fire, Matt Letourneau, Dulles District Supervisor, wrote a letter to the editor emphasizing the importance of home fire sprinklers and the ability of communities to decide on critical safety code provisions. In it, he explains that he worked with Loudoun County Fire-Rescue Chief Keith Brower "to introduce a motion supporting local control of this requirement as a fire protection option for our community." He informs that "the resolution was adopted by the Board of Supervisors at the board's Jan. 3 meeting and is now part of our legislative program that has been transmitted to our delegation in Richmond." He concluded by thanking his colleagues "for this support and I hope that Loudoun will one day be able to make its own decisions on requiring fire sprinklers."
This type of communication after a fire sprinkler activation event is what is needed to highlight the importance of fire sprinklers and the right of communities to make decisions about what is best for the life safety of its residents. All should strive to emulate the fire department and Mr. Letourneau for taking advantage of this incident to raise awareness and advocate for home fire sprinkler requirements.