A sprinkler system is being credited with containing a fire at a Minnesota senior citizen high rise this week.
According to the Duluth News Tribune, the fire in the city of Hibbing drew a full response from the Hibbing Fire Department and neighboring departments. However, when firefighters arrived the fire had already been contained by the sprinkler system. The building houses senior citizen apartments, an Elks Club banquet center, and an orthodontics clinic.
Firefighters arrived in response to an automatic fire alarm that was triggered. They found smoke coming from a vent near the kitchen of the Elks Club and tenants starting to evacuate the building.
The fire was down to a smolder. Crews put out the remaining smoldering material and ventilated the smoke from the banquet room.
This incident underscores the importance of a home fire sprinkler system. NFPA’s High-rise Apartment and Condominium Safety tips sheet advises that for the best protection, select a fully sprinklered building and be prepared with an escape plan–know the location of all available exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest exit is blocked by fire or smoke. If there is a fire, pull the alarm on your way out. The Home Fire Sprinklers section of the NFPA web site and the tips sheet provide background on how sprinkler systems work, their effectiveness, and cost.
Fire Marshal Fagerstrom determined that the fire was accidental. A steam table overheated and ignited a wood buffet table. He stressed the importance of having a properly maintained sprinkler system.
“The sprinkler system in this fire was serviced and maintained per code and did exactly as it should by containing the fire and keeping it from spreading,” he said in a news release.