Revisiting Wisconsin Apartment, Sprinkler Requirement

As I posted previously. Wisconsin is considering a sprinkler mandate in all apartments. For more backround read the post and click on the link to the article. Okay. The thing to take away from this snippit is this; [WKBT La Cross]

The Wisconsin Builders Association opposes the move, saying it’s costly and unnecessary.”

And the answer, in my mind, might be held by one of the people who survived this apartment fire. [firefightingnews.com] Note; the article at Fire Fighting News was povided by Deseret News.

The fire was under control by about 6 p.m. Unified Fire Authority Battalion Chief Brent Spiers estimated damage at about $500,000. He said the way the building was constructed and the presence of fire sprinklers helped keep the damage to a minimum.”

For those that did click to the article, it states that two units were destroyed. Let’s not take that information and twist it into a mantra of the ineffectiveness of sprinklers. You have to remember two things here. First and foremost, this fire was electrical in nature. Electrical wiring and circuitry is typically in the walls (where fire sprinklers are not). If a sprinkler cannot detect heat it will not activate. Electrical fires will burn and smolder in concealed spaces for a long time before they really get going. Second, and this is the really good news, once the sprinklers did detect the heat, the fire was contained to only the two destroyed rooms and part of another, essentially saving the rest of the building.

You have to realize that once a fire gets really going it’s hard to stop it. That’s why fire crews spend hours, sometimes days, pouring hundreds of thousands of gallons of water on fires. The fire sprinklers in that apartment only used a fraction of the water that would have been used had there been no sprinklers, not to mention the time they bought other occupants/residents to get out.

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