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Burn notice

Glenmont fire demo part of campaign to encourage indoor sprinkler legislation

Local fire officials demonstrated the effects fire can have on a home without a sprinkler system on Friday, May 17.

Local fire officials demonstrated the effects fire can have on a home without a sprinkler system on Friday, May 17. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— “You have to remember that a cake bakes in the oven at about 350 degrees,” Lattanzio said.

All of the furniture in the room was completely destroyed, and the interior of the building was burnt out. In that type of scenario, fire officials said the structure would have been determined a loss and responders would instead work to make sure the fire was contained to one home.

The same steps were taken to set the second room on fire, however after about two minutes a sprinkler system kicked in. Temperatures in the second room only reached about 165 degrees. The furniture was soaked and partially burnt, but the interior of the room was fine.

“It speaks for itself, sprinklers obviously do a great job,” said Dan Ryan, chief of the Delmar Fire Department. He said firefighters are most likely to encounter fires like those in the first room.

The demonstration was done in part to encourage local code enforcement officials to advocate for a new state law that would mandate sprinkler systems to be placed in newly built one- and two-family homes, or those that undergo a large renovation. All commercial, retail and apartment buildings are already required to have sprinkler systems.

Lattanzio said he believes the new law will pass and go into effect by next year. It’s estimated that the installation of a sprinkler system to an existing home would cost about $2.40 per square foot.

Lattanzio said sprinklers would only be activated in rooms where a fire originates or if the fire happens to spread and other rooms reach 160 degrees. This helps to control the fire, reduce carbon monoxide emissions and save property.

“There are a lot of nonbelievers out there who think installing them isn’t worth the cost, but this is our proof,” said Lattanzio. “It’s always been an uphill fight.”

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