http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017616a28a14970c-piAs reported by MercuryNews.com San Ramon’s fire chief's home caught fire Tuesday morning while an electrician was working on a problem the chief had discovered the night before. The fire sprinkler piping running through the attic controlled the fire, reducing property damage. No one was hurt.
According to the fire marshal quoted in the article, the night before, Fire Chief Richard Price noticed the breaker tripped at his home and wouldn't reset. He called an electrician out to make repairs the following morning, and while the electrician was working, some electrical wiring started a fire in the attic. The fire burned a hole in a sprinkler pipe running through the attic, spraying water directly onto the flames.
Some people have expressed concern about a fire melting the plastic piping approved for used on these systems. This example may serve to allay this particular concern. The NFPA 13D system operated outside of its purpose; the sprinkler pipe burst and controlled the fire. The fire did not reach deadly conditions, protecting the occupants. The fire scene remained safe for the responding firefighters.