Saved by the sprinklerPublished 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.