At a recent live burn/fire sprinkler demonstration in Illinois, David Bartley witnessed how rapidly fire can spread. Bartley, though, is familiar with fire's force; in 2005, his home was destroyed by it.
It was "an electrical fire in my son's bedroom," Bartley, a maintenance electrician for the Housing Authority of Champaign County, said in a recent interview by the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). "I ran upstairs with a five-pound extinguisher. When I opened the door, it ignited a flashback. It knocked me down on my back."
Fortunately, the home's seven children and three adults made it out safely. Looking back on the experience, Bartley says the fire extinguisher, which he never used during the fire, would have been fruitless. "It would have been like spitting on a bonfire," he says. Seeing the sprinkler demonstration only affirmed his opinions on the necessity of home fire sprinklers.
The demonstration was tied to a conference that taught fire safety to members of maintenance and management industries. The event "gave people an opportunity to see firsthand what the danger of a fire is like when they see the power of the fire and the amount of heat it generates," instructor Bob Wetzel, a retired firefighter, told NIFSAB. "Imagine if [that fire] was in a 12,000-square-foot home."
Watch and share this whiteboard video urging homeowners to "ask for home fire sprinklers":