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Sunday fire shows value of sprinkler systems

CRFR crews were called to a fire at White River Village Townhomes in Rifle after a car caught fire. There were no reported injuries and the total dollar loss is estimated at $2,500.
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When a vehicle burst into flames Sunday night inside the garage of a Rifle home, neighbors who could have been in danger can thank the garage’s sprinkler system for preventing the fire from spreading, local fire officials said.

The resident of the home was working on the vehicle at the time the fire started inside the garage at the White River Village Townhomes. If it had spread, all four of the town homes in the building could have burned.

Within seconds, according to Colorado River Fire Rescue, the sprinkler system activated and knocked down the flames before they spread.



According to a press release, when fire crews arrived there were only minor mop-up operations that needed to be done.

“The fire sprinkler was activated and immediately extinguished the fire and activated fire alarms, which alerted the residents of the other three units to evacuate,” the press release states.



Colorado River Fire Rescue Fire Marshall Orrin Moon said the sprinklers did what they were designed to do and not only alerted everyone to get out, but helped slow the fire and keep it contained.

Moon advocated for new homeowners to look to add sprinkler systems right away.

He said they will eventually pay for themselves on insurance savings, and said some towns in Arizona are required to have residential sprinkler systems in every home.

According to the National Fire Safety Administration, home fire sprinklers are a crucial, life-saving technology. Sprinklers can reduce the risk of dying from home fires by 80 percent, and can reduce the risk of property loss by 70 percent, according to the website.

“The long-term goal for all fire departments is to see residential sprinkler added for every home,” Moon added.

He said that in the CRFR District, only about 10 or 11 homes hare equipped with sprinkler systems.

“I’d like to see that number increase,” Moon added.

Garfield County commissioners, meanwhile, are looking to adopt a countywide fire code based on the 2015 International Fire Code, which does address sprinklers. They were presented with information about the possible code change at their regular meeting on Monday in Glenwood Springs.

Among the changes the commissioners requested include amending the automatic sprinkler system to be less restrictive, and excluding telecommunication buildings and parking garages open to three or more sides.

The commissioners will look to adopt the amended fire code at their July 23 meeting.


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