BEND, OR -- Bend Fire officials credit the sprinkler system for saving a northeast Bend business. Firefighters responded to an alarm at Central Oregon Radiology Associates (1460 NE Medical Center Dr.) just after 3 a.m., Friday. When crews arrived, they found that a garbage can had caught fire under the overhang of the building and had activated an exterior sprinkler head.
Investigators say the sprinkler activation prevented what could have been a very expensive fire, given the imaging systems inside the business. The cause of the fire is believed to be an improperly disposed of cigarette.
Dep. Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki says sprinkler heads react to heat; units not exposed to heat don't activate, which allows minimal amounts of water to be applied to a small fire and keep it from growing. This minimal amount of water also prevents extensive water damage. When water started flowing, the alarm company notified 911.
He reminds business and building owners to keep sprinkler systems well maintained, especially during frigid temperatures. He says frozen systems render them inoperative and/or can result in broken pipes. Derlacki says most fire sprinkler systems that do freeze are the result of lack of maintenance.
*Photo courtesy Google Earth