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Fire Sprinklers At Work (Fall/Winter 2012 Edition)

Update: Since October 18, 2011

October 2011

Paper Company
Town of Menasha

Town of Menasha firefighters were called to Clearwater Paper for a report of a fire in a paper machine.

According to the Post Crescent, Fire Chief Keith Kiesow said the fire originated in a tissue machine and was largely put out by an overhead sprinkler.

Crews from the neighboring Town of Neenah Fire Department also responded. No injuries were reported to workers or firefighters, and the machine did not sustain significant damage, according to Kiesow.

Post Crescent

Apartment Building

The McFarland Fire Department was paged for a fire alarm at the Williams Town Bay Apartments on the morning of October 23, 2011.

Crews from the McFarland Fire Department and other area fire departments and EMS, as well as the McFarland Police, responded to the scene. Upon arriving, crews saw that residents were already evacuating. The water flow bell was sounding, which indicated the fully sprinklered building had an activated sprinkler.

Crews smelled smoke on the third-floor hallway and could hear a sprinkler spraying water in a unit. Crews found evidence of a stove fire with two of the burners turned on. Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Scott J. Miller reported that the sprinkler system did its job and extinguished the small fire.

In that apartment unit, firefighters discovered a 90-year-old man in a wheelchair. Fire crews removed him from the building and McFarland EMS transported him to the hospital were his condition was unknown. An incident update later showed that the individual died and that his death was a natural matter. The fire did not contribute to his death.

One other resident was treated at the scene for a minor medical condition. No other responders or residents were injured. Fire damage was minimal to the unit.

McFarland Fire Department

Senior Apartment

There was a fire reported to the Sheboygan Fire Department at the Waterview Senior Apartments in Sheboygan’s riverfront area.

Sheboygan Fire Department Captain Vernon Koch told the Sheboygan Press that the fire broke out at 2:25 p.m. in an apartment unit on the top floor of the three-story building. There are more than 60 apartment units in the building, so residents of other units were advised to evacuate the building while firefighters put out the fire. He said the fire started in the kitchen area of the third-floor apartment unit, but said the cause was still under investigation.

One person was injured.

Koch said the sprinkler system in the apartment complex did its job to contain the fire until fire crews fully extinguished it. Firefighters also vented smoke from the apartment.

The woman who was injured sustained burns. She was the lone occupant of the apartment unit at the time and was taken to the medical center by an ambulance, Koch reported.

He estimated that the fire caused about $30,000 in damage.

Sheboygan Press

Multi-Use Building
Eau Claire

The Eau Claire Fire Department was dispatched to a sounding fire alarm at the former Holsum Bakery building, a single-story property that now has multiple occupancies within it.

When fire crews arrived they reported light smoke in the basement area. The majority of the fire had been reduced by the sprinkler system, and fire crews extinguished any remaining fire.

Damage was estimated at $5,000. There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

WQOW ABC News 18

November 2011

Manufacturing Business
North Fond du Lac

The F. Ziegler Manufacturing Solutions business evacuated occupants when a heating/air conditioning unit on the roof started on fire.

“We mainly ventilated the building and shut systems down,” said North Fond du Lac Fire Chief Paul Nelson. “The sprinkler system activated near the fire and the safety damper on the system worked properly after the fire started,” said North Fond du Lac Fire Chief Paul Nelson.

Fond du Lac Reporter (Fdlreporter.com)

Elementary School
Sun Prairie

The Sun Prairie Fire Department was called to the Horizon Elementary School early on a Sunday morning. When firefighters arrived, they found the school office filled with smoke and flames. Firefighters and the building’s fire sprinkler system extinguished the blaze. The fire did not spread beyond the office.

The staff was allowed back in the building the following day. The office was relocated temporarily. There were no injuries.

The Cap Times


Firefighters were called to Wasabi Restaurant at about 6:00 p.m. on a Friday due to a water flow alarm. The manager said that a pot of water boiled over, spilling into a pot of hot oil, which overflowed onto a gas grill and caused the fire.

When firefighters arrived, they found that customers had evacuated and a sprinkler system had activated to douse the grill fire.

City of Brookfield Fire Department Report

February 2012

Grocery Store
Fond du Lac

The Fond du Lac Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at the Pick ‘n Save grocery store at 2:30 p.m. The fire was discovered in the men’s restroom located in the front of the store, Chief Pete O’Leary told the Fond du Lac reporter.

The fire involved a toilet paper dispenser. The fire activated a fire sprinkler, which extinguished the fire and kept it from spreading beyond the restroom.

There were no reports of injuries. Everyone evacuated when the fire alarm activated. Thirty minutes after the fire, people were able to return back into the store.

The fire is under investigation.

Fond du Lac Reporter (Fdlreporter.com)

March 2012

Menomonee Falls

The Menomonee Falls Fire Department responded to a call from the Applebee’s restaurant business manager at 8:39 a.m. on Saturday, March 24, that the water gong had activated. Upon entering the restaurant kitchen, the manager found that a fire sprinkler had activated and extinguished a fire in a garbage cart located near the back door. Security camera footage showed what appeared to be a smoldering fire that began growing over a period of about an hour. The sprinkler activated at approximately 5:30 a.m.

Water was able to empty through the kitchen’s floor drains until firefighters shut down the fire sprinkler system upon their arrival. There was some smoke that entered the bar area. “Had it not been for the fire sprinkler system, this fire could have been a million-dollar-loss fire. Instead, the restaurant was open for business by 1:00 p.m.,” said Chief Jeffrey Hevey, Menomonee Falls Fire Department.

The total loss was $10,000. The fire is still under investigation.

Chief Jeffrey S. Hevey
Menomonee Falls Fire Department

May 2012


Madison firefighters responded to a call about a fire at an apartment building. When firefighters arrived, they found that a fire sprinkler had activated in an apartment, extinguishing a fire that occurred above the stove due to cooking.

There were no injuries.

City of Madison Fire Department

June 2012


The Edgerton Fire Department was dispatched to an early morning fire at a large warehouse where security guards reported thick smoke inside the building. When the firefighters arrived, they found that the fire sprinkler system had activated to entinguish a fire that occurred on an eight-foot-tall stack of plastic foam sheeting.

Security guards were at the warehouse at the time, but no one was injured. Workers were able to go in the building the next morning. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Janesville Gazzette

Resort and Conference Center
Sturgeon Bay

An ottoman, placed too close to a gas fireplace that was accidently turned on, ignited and filled a guest suite and hallway with smoke at the Stone Harbor Resort and Conference Center at 7:10 p.m. Firefighters were paged, a smoke alarm sounded and the fire sprinkler system activated to douse the ottoman.

Firefighters used smoke ejectors to clear smoke out of the room and hallway. The sprinkler was replaced.

Fire Chief Tim Herlache told the Door County Daily News reporter that “if it hadn’t been for the sprinkler system that would have been a major, major fire.”

No one was injured.

Door County Daily News
WDOR 93.9 FM – 910 AM

Update: Since July 2012


On a late Friday evening, Beloit Fire Department firefighters responded to an alarm system that indicated a fire sprinkler system was activated at the American Aluminum Extrusion.

When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy black smoke. They told the Beloit Daily News that although there was smoke, actual flames were pretty much extinguished. “American Aluminum Extrusion’s sprinkler system did its job,” according to Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Hedrington.

According the Chief Hedrington, the fire originated on the production floor, where it is believed a hydraulics line on a crane burst, but the precise reason for the fire is still under investigation.

Chief Hedrington told the Beloit News that “We had smoke 60 feet above the building when we were responding, but we didn’t see any fire because the sprinkler system did its job and knocked it down. The sprinklers usually just keep it in check, but it did a great job.”

The firefighters left the scene after about two-and-a-half hours.

Chief Hedrington estimated damages are still being determined. He indicated that workers will be able to return, although there will be a lot of clean-up to do and repair to the sprinkler system needed.

Beloit Daily News


Uniform Service

No one was in the building when a fire broke out at 1212 N. Stoughton Road. Damage at Aramark Uniform Service, which supply uniform and rental and cleaning, was kept to a minimum thanks to several sprinkler heads that kept the fire in check until firefighters arrived.

At around 12:12 am, Engine 8 was dispatched to 1212 N. Stoughton Road for a report of a fire alarm sounding.  When the crew arrived, no smoke or flames were showing from the front of the building.  They drove around the large two story commercial building and found black smoke blowing from the back of the structure.  The Lieutenant immediately called for a full fire response and forced entry to the building.  When fire crews entered the building, heat and smoke conditions banked down toward the floor allowing visibility to about five feet above the floor.

Four to five sprinkler heads kept the fire from spreading, keeping the fire at bay.  Several fire crews extinguished ten to fifteen large metal bins of uniforms, linens and towels with handlines. The bins were located near several loading dock doors, so crews were able to quickly remove the burning and smoldering contents.  Extensive smoke damage occurred throughout the second story warehouse and office area.  The buildings exhaust fans and loading dock doors were use to help ventilate the building.

Damage is estimated at $100,000 with the cause under investigation.

Bernadette Galvez, Public Information Officer
Madison Fire Department

Menomonee Falls

The Menomonee Falls Fire Department received a call regarding a fire alarm activation at the Radisson Hotel on Main Street at 8:02 a.m. Two minutes after the fire dispatch, a call came in indicating water flow.

When firefighters arrived, they saw a moderate amount of smoke in the back area of the five-story building’s first floor.

“The fire was contained by the fire sprinkler system. One sprinkler activated and kept the fire from spreading,” said Chief Jeffrey Hevey.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, it appears to have been caused by a possible malfunction in a heavy-duty clothes dryer. There was approximately $30,000 in damage, which was primarily to the clothes drying equipment.

Jeffrey Hevey, Fire Chief
Menomonee Falls Fire Department

Sheboygan Fire Department

The Sheboygan Fire Department responded to a fire call at 8:40 a.m. on Monday, September 10, at the Vollrath Company.

Deputy Chief Charles Butler told The Sheboygan Press that the blaze, which began in a dust collection located outside the building, was contained and controlled by the building’s sprinkler system before the fire department arrived.

Butler added that the company’s employees evacuated immediately, and there were no injuries. He estimated the damage at about $20,000.

The Sheboygan Press


Apartment Building
Pleasant Prairie

On October 8, Pleasant Prairie Fire & Rescue responded to a fire alarm at a three-story, 36-unit apartment building. Upon arrival a fire was confirmed in the kitchen of a second-story unit. The outside bell/strobe was activated, indicating a water flow from the fire sprinkler system. As part of a coordinated procedure, some fire units responded to the fire sprinkler room in the underground parking garage, while others responded to the apartment unit of the fire origin. When the fire was extinguished, the fire sprinkler system riser was shut down immediately.

The fire was caused by a pan of grease that was to be used for cooking. When the occupant applied water to the pan in a sink, flames erupted throughout the kitchen area. A single fire sprinkler above the sink activated and extinguished the fire.

There was minimal water usage during the entire event.

A single fire sprinkler allowed thirty-six families to be able to stay in their own homes that night.

Thomas Clark
Pleasant Prairie Fire Department

Commercial Building

The Fitchburg Fire Department was dispatched to 6061 Basswood Drive in the City of Fitchburg for a report of a fire in an indoor/outdoor trash compactor, which was connected to the building. With smoke visible on the outside of the building, the crew entered the building and found a small fire in the trash compactor. A nearby fire sprinkler was keeping the fire contained, and the fire was declared under control shortly after crews entered the building.

Employees were allowed to reenter the building and return to work as the smoke was cleared and crews determined that sections of the building were safe.

The cause of the fire has been determined, but is not available at this time. Both the automatic fire sprinkler system and the fire alarm detection system operated as designed during this incident.

Rich Roth
Deputy Chief
City of Fitchburg Fire Department

Humane Manufacturing

Firefighters responded to a fire call at Humane Manufacturing, a producer of rubber flooring.

The fire was located in a large press and began spreading, however, the fire sprinkler system activated and kept the fire in check until fire crews arrived to completely extinguish the fire.

Production was able to start again once the press had been repaired and the electrical supply to power the machine had been determined safe.

Channel 3000.com

Residential Garage

At 2:50 pm, fire crews were dispatched to 2343 Allied Drive for a report of a garage fire.

After playing in the snow, a 10-year old decided to dry his pants on top of a space heater, which was located in the garage. The pants started on fire, which activated the garage sprinkler system and kept the fire in check until firefighters arrived. Crews extinguished the fire within 5 minutes. No occupants were displaced.

Lori Wirth
Community Ed/PIO
City of Madison Fire Department

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