A vinyl shower curtain caught on fire Friday morning, causing a sprinkler system to go off at Berrien Woods Apartments. (Submitted photo)
A vinyl shower curtain caught on fire Friday morning, causing a sprinkler system to go off at Berrien Woods Apartments. (Submitted photo)

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Saved by the sprinkler

Published 9:19am Monday, May 5, 2014

Apartment fire extinguished before firefighters arrived

A sprinkler system potentially minimized the damage of a fire that started in the 900 block of Woods Edge Drive in Niles Township Friday morning.

Niles Township Fire Chief Gary Brovold said a sprinkler system installed in the Berrien Woods Apartments unit had completely extinguished the fire by the time firefighters from Niles Township and Niles City arrived. The fire was dispatched at 9:37 a.m. and units arrived quickly.

“We’d much rather deal with a little smoke and water than having to pull those lines,” said Brovold, adding that a sprinkler system is like having a personal firefighter on standby 24/7.

According to Lt. Doug Myers, of Niles Township Fire, the blaze started when a resident accidently lit a vinyl shower curtain on fire with a match.

Niles Fire Chief Larry Lamb said there was minor smoke and fire damage in the ground level unit thanks to the sprinkler.

“You can see that the damage is a lot less extensive when we have sprinkler systems in place to protect our occupants,” he said.

Lamb said people often focus on the water damage that comes from a sprinkler system without realizing what damage could’ve been caused if there wasn’t a sprinkler system.

“There’s a good chance that the whole room could’ve been on fire,” he said, adding that the fire could’ve spread to another room, putting every resident in the apartment complex at risk.

 

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