Fire sprinkler saves five at lower Kingsbury home |

Fire sprinkler saves five at lower Kingsbury home

A late-night tragedy was averted by a residential sprinkler system early Saturday morning at south shore Lake Tahoe, according to the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District.

Just after midnight firefighters responded to a structure fire in a four-plex on lower Kingsbury Grade. Upon arrival, fire units found the five occupants waiting safely outside the four-plex. A fire which had begun due to food left on the stove had spread to the cabinets, before being extinguished by the fire sprinkler system. The occupants, who were sleeping at the time of the fire, were alerted by the sprinkler system waterflow alarm.

The other occupants in the building were alerted by the waterflow alarm, which sounds when a sprinkler discharges. The fire was extinguished by a single sprinkler head.The smoke detectors in the unit where the fire occurred had been disabled by the occupants. Damage was estimated at $5,000.

“This incident clearly demonstrates the benefit of fire sprinklers, while smoke detectors are important, they are easily tampered with and do nothing to suppress the fire” according to Mark Novak, fire prevention battalion chief. “It is very likely that without the fire sprinkler system, this fire would have resulted in serious injury if not fatalities, and the building would have sustained extensive damage”.

A recent report released by the National Fire Protection Association found the average cost of installing a residential sprinkler system to be $1.61 per square foot.

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This incident comes at the tail end of National Fire Prevention Week. The theme of this year is “Prevent Home Fires.” Cooking, heating, and smoking are leading causes of home fires.

The fire district encourages residents to never disable their smoke detectors, and to test them every month. Batteries should be replaced twice a year. An easy way to remember this is to replace your smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks.