Sprinkler Save in Tampa, Florida

From the Saint Petersburg Times; fire sprinklers contained an electrical fire in Tampa Bay (article). The fire started in an electrical closet of a rug gallery and affected the pine shop next door. The damage was estimated at $800,000 which is higher than the damage typically reported when sprinklers are involved. Just speculation on my part but I would imagine these stores carried “high end” inventory. Maybe $800,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated total loss value.

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New Sprinkler Ordinances In Tahoe

The following e-mail was forwarded to me regarding the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District (Nevada) adoption of their new sprinkler ordinances.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am the Fire Marshal for the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District located on the Nevada ’s south shore of Lake Tahoe . I’m writing you to inform you that our Fire District just adopted a new sprinkler ordinance that now requires all new buildings to be fully sprinklered. Our old ordinance was for any building 5000 square feet or bigger. In addition, any square footage added to any existing building shall be fully sprinklered. Please see attachment. This ordinance will take affect July 1, 2007.

Should you have any questions regarding our ordinance, please feel free to contact me at the numbers listed below.

Respectfully,
Rick

Rick is the Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal for the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District. The image (below) is a scanned copy of the new ordinances. Click on the image for a larger view, once you have the larger view you can cursor over it and a box with arrows will show in the lower right that will allow you to expand the image further. Confused yet? I also felt I shouldn’t post Rick’s contact information without permission. Way to go Tahoe!

Copy of Ordinance

Apartment Fire

I found this story on thekansascitychannel.com of an apartment fire (video included) in early June in Overland Park, Kansas. Watch the video. It provides a perfect example of why smoke alarms can’t alone save lives. A man is seen trying to run back into the fully engulfed aparment as fire fighters run in after him and force him to leave. It is truly unbelievable footage.

More footage on myfoxkc.com shows just how quickly the fire spread.

Wow! It would have been awesome to see a sprinkler system go to work on this fire. Of course sprinklers might not have been required on the balconies. That fire spread so fast, you have to ask the question though what would the outcome have been had sprinklers been installed even without balcony protection? Total Loss? I don’t think so. Maybe the other question to ask is, should balcony protection be required in 13R?

Sprinklered Apartment Building Burns

A report of an apartment fire in a three story 15 unit sprinklered building in Everett, Washington. The fire started on a balcony and went unchecked until the interior sprinklers activated. One person was injured and about 10 residents were displaced. [heraldnet.com]

This fire started outside on a deck, where there are no sprinklers,” Hynes said. “The sprinklers inside didn’t activate until the fire burned through the wall and ceiling and into the interior of the apartment.”

There is an exception for placing sprinklers on exterior porches and balconies in NFPA 13R however, I’m pretty sure we’ve been forced to protect them before because of a requirement in IBC. I’ll do some asking around, and check the code.

Update: Balcony protection is required in IBC. I had a conversation with a PM with some experience in residential and verified in the book (section 903.3.1.2.1).