Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 4:12 PM Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 4:19 PM
To help drive home the importance of sprinklers, firefighters in St. Tammany Parish will torch two buildings this weekend - one with a sprinkler, the other without.
"There's nothing like the heat and smoke of a real fire to help adults and children understand just how fast a home fire is," said Jason Kaufmann, fire prevention officer for St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 4,headquartered in Mandeville.
Kaufmann said the demonstration will allow people to see firsthand how fast a home fire can spread and potentially become deadly. The event takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday at the district's training facility, 1800 North Lane off Louisiana 59 north of Mandeville. Firefighters, fire engines and educational material will also be available. The public is invited.
The fire department built two structures and equipped them with similar furnishings and a smoke alarm. But only one of the rooms has a sprinkler.
"By providing this unique live fire comparison, people not only gain an appreciation for fire power; they also realize what an incredible advantage it is to have a fire sprinkler system installed if fire breaks out," Kaufmann said in a news release.
The fire district is working with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition to put on the demonstration. Several area businesses - Lowe's, Home Depot, Carpet Showcase, Omni Storage of Hwy. 59 and Merit Sprinkler Co. - also contributed to the event, Kaufmann said.