Sprinkler system saves multi-million dollar home | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sprinkler system saves multi-million dollar home

A fire in the garage of a three-story custom Skyline Drive home that ignited by stain-soaked rags was extinguished by a single sprinkler head last night with minimal water damage to the structure, officials said today.

Firefighters from the Lake Valley Fire Protection District were called to the Skyline Drive home last night at 10:15 p.m. for a report of a fire alarm. Upon arrival at the scene by firefighters, an extinguished fire was located in the garage. A single automatic sprinkler head mounted in the ceiling above the fire activated and completely extinguished the fire.

The fire was determined to be started by stain-soaked rags rolled up in a canvas tarp placed on a stack of wood inside the home’s three-car garage, said Gareth Harris, batallion chief for the Lake Valley Fire Protection District.

It had the potential to spread quickly throughout the 5,000-square-foot home and potentially to the surrounding forest had it not been quickly extinguished by the automatic sprinkler system, Harris said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the U.S. has the highest rate of fire deaths and injuries of any industrialized nation in the world. On average 4,500 people die in fires annually. A majority of which occur in residential fires. Automatic sprinkler systems and smoke detectors increase your likelihood of surviving a structure fire by over 90 percent.

Contrary to myths, automatic sprinkler systems do not open up and drench the complete house in the event of a fire, according to the association. Each sprinkler head has a fusible link that must heat up to its melting temperature in order to open up and discharge water. This fire is a prime example of the capability of automatic sprinklers to detect a fire and control or extinguish the fire while it is still small.

Lake Valley Fire Protection District urges people to always place oil or stain-soaked rags in a sealed metal container.

For more information on automatic sprinkler systems or to schedule a free fire safety inspection, contact the Lake Valley Fire Protection District at (530) 577-3737.

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