Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sprinkler system stopped Lakeside Village fire before it spread

Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 7:15 PM
LakesideFire.jpgResidents stand outside the main entrance of Lakeside Village apartment complex Tuesday night.
SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI — A fire at Lakeside Village apartments Tuesday began with careless smoking, but was put out moments later by a sprinkler system that was installed after a more devastating fire in 2005. 
A resident of the apartment complex told fire inspectors that she dropped a cigarette that was not completely out and it started a small fire on her recliner chair, Saginaw Township Fire Department Inspector Kevin O’Brien said. 
The building’s sprinkler system activated and put out the small fire before it could spread, he said, and the only fire damage was a small burned spot on the chair.
The fire department made the apartment complex install a fire suppression system to comply with current fire codes after a major fire in January 2005. 
During the 2005 fire, O’Brien said firefighters rescued about 80 residents who needed help getting out and the building was damaged significantly. O’Brien said he believes some residents were treated for smoke inhalation after the 2005 fire.
The sprinkler system paid for itself Tuesday and may have saved lives, especially because some of the residents are disabled, O’Brien said.
“I’m sure within 30 seconds or maybe a minute of the fire starting it was put out by the sprinklers,” O’Brien said. “I don’t know of any fire departments with a one-minute response time to a fire at a three-story building.”
Three apartments were damaged by water from the sprinkler system, O’Brien said, but there was very little fire damage and no smoke damage.
The building was evacuated due to a general alarm triggered by the fire suppression system.
A few residents were treated by emergency responders, one for a strained back and another for a condition thought to be related to anxiety during the evacuation, O’Brien said.
The fire department brought hoses out but did not have to use them as the sprinklers had already suppressed the flames, he said.
Only two sprinkler heads activated during the blaze, O’Brien said, noting that sprinklers use about 75 percent less water to put out a fire compared to if a fire department shows up to battle the flames, because the sprinklers work immediately and are targeted where the fire originated.
The three rooms with water damage are not inhabitable, O’Brien said, noting that one resident was staying with family and he believes the others are being housed in different rooms in the complex. 
Brad Devereaux Email Facebook Twitter | 989-372-2442

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kerry Rose Foundation Hosts Fundraising Event

Parents of late Commack graduate Kerry Rose Fitzsimons hope to raise fund to embark on fire sprinkler awareness campaign this fall.
Two Commack parents who lost their daughter ina college apartment blaze are turning to local residents to help them raise funds to kick start a fire sprinkler awareness campaign. 
Robert and Maryanne Fitzsimons, parents of late Commack graduate Kerry Rose Fitzsimons, will host a Fire Sprinkler Fundraiser this Friday, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., at the IBEW Local 25 Hall on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge. The Commack parents are hoping to raise money to help fund their fire sprinkler awareness campaign. 
"We know we are going to need some money to fund this cause. We have to bring awareness to parents and students who are going off to college and universities so they don't get into a dangerous predicament," Robert said.
His daughter, Kerry Rose, was one of three people killed in an off-campus apartment blaze while studying at Marist College in January. Her cause of death was later determined to be due to smoke inhalation while sleeping
In her memory, her parents have formed the Kerry Rose Foundation, a not-for-profit that aims to increase college fire safety awareness issues with the emphasis of the importance of having fire sprinklers in both on-campus and off-campus housing, according to its Facebook page.
"My daughter's passing was needless. Her and her friends, I can't even believe their gone," Robert said. 
Friday night's fundraiser will feature food, drinks, music, dancing, a chineese auction and 50/50 raffle in effort to raise fund to bring the Kerry Rose Foundation's message to local colleges and universities this fall, her father said. Suggested donation is $40 per person.
Items to be auctioned off including a keyboard signed by Long Island's singer and songwriter Billy Joel, as well as a guitars signed by Billy Joel and Van Halen. Baskets will feature items such as Coach handbags, Mets tickets and Yankees tickets for sports fans. 
Robert said he and his wife have already begun reaching out to local colleges and universities to expand their awareness campaign. 
"We've touched base with the University of Albany. All of the colleges know that there's an issue. There's just not enough on-campus beds for remote kids," he said. 
The Fitzsimons have started an online petition, at, asking people to show their support to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to require fire sprinklers in all on-campus and off-campus housing for college students. As of May 30, more than 2,400 have signed the petition. 
The family is also championing the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, currently before U.S. Congress, that would provide proeprty owners with a federal tax incentive to install fire sprinklers in older residential or comerical buildings. If passed, most small to medium-sized businesses would become able to fully expense the cost of retrofitting sprinklers for buildings as large as 50,000 square feet, where system can cost from $2,300 to $16,000. 

Dramatic Home Fire Sprinkler Demonstration

Plainfield Fire Department: Dramatic Home Fire Sprinkler Demonstration

The Plainfield Fire Protection District is hosting a live, side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstration for the public. The demonstration is a vivid visualization of the tremendous speed of a typical home fire and its potential for deadly destruction. Also illustrated is the vital importance of home fire safety technology that can save lives and reduce property damage.
The fire protection district is one of 50 fire departments nationwide to receive a stipend from the national nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to conduct the fire and sprinkler demonstration educational program. HFSC’s stipend program is funded through a Fire Prevention & Safety Grant awarded by the Grant ProgramsDirectorate of FEMA.
More than 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home. The Plainfield Fire Protection District, HFSC, and the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board are using this important event to help people of every age understand how dangerous a home fire is, and how important prevention, detection, suppression and escape are.
This event is FREE and open to the public.
Contact: Mary Ludemann, Fire Inspector, (815) 436-5336 x7314,

Monday, May 28, 2012

Having banned junk food in schools, McGuinty dithers on fire safety

Matt Gurney: Having banned junk food in schools, McGuinty dithers on fire safety

  May 28, 2012 – 12:01 PM ET Last Updated: May 28, 2012 12:20 PM ET
Last Friday, two more elderly Ontarians died in a fire at a seniors home. Their home did not have a sprinkler system. The two victims, identified as Anne-Marie Bonin, 84, and her husband Jean-Paul Bonin, 87, were killed when flames engulfed their residence in Hawkesbury, Ont. Two firefighters were injured while helping residence staff evacuate the building.
The Bonins are the 45th and 46th Ontarians to die in blazes at seniors homes that lack sprinklers since 1980. This is not a huge number in a province of some 13 million souls, but it is frustrating because of how preventable these deaths are. Three inquests had previously recommended that automatic sprinklers be installed into all seniors residences that do not have them — they became mandatory across Canada in 1995, but thousands of residences predate that. Ironically, a fourth inquest released its findings on the very same day that the Bonins died, reiterating the need for these life-saving retrofits. And yet so far the government has yet to act. That’s indefensible on its own merits, but it’s especially perplexing when one considers that this is Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government, one that has never hesitated to legislate and regulate in the name of far less pressing public-safety concerns.
When a fire strikes a seniors home, the dangers of panic, smoke, disorientation and entrapment are exacerbated by the sad fact that many seniors can’t move as fast as they once could, or see as well. They may be suffering from dementia. And yet these frail seniors must still react swiftly and calmly in a life-or-death situation where seconds count. Since that clearly is impossible, it falls on staff and first-responders to rescue the residents.
And sprinklers have been proven, time and again, to make a difference. After a similar 2009 fire in Orillia, Ont., Fire Chief Ralph Dominelli said in a statement, “The benefits of sprinklers are indisputable. A combination of smoke alarms and automatic fire sprinklers can cut the risk of dying in a fire by 82%. In any fire, every second matters. But in a care facility, time is even more precious … Automatic sprinklers buy critical time for the both the staff and firefighters to save lives and property.” In that fire, four seniors died. As their home burned, only half of the residents were able to get out on their own. The rest needed rescue, requiring Dominelli to order half a dozen of his men to crawl into the burning building to search for survivors.
Canada’s Atlantic provinces, and 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, already require automatic sprinklers in  senior care facilities. Ontario insists that it is studying the problem. But in the time it has been studying the problem, it has taken such public-safety measures as removing junk food from schools to combat childhood obesity, banning smoking in a car with a child to spare them not just second-hand smoke, but the negative influence of being near a smoker, tried and failed to limit the number of passengers a young driver may have in a car to cut down on distractions and has outlawed the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving (again, to limit distraction). During Mr. McGuinty’s time in office, Ontario has banned residential use of pesticides, smoking in restaurants or bars — including those with separately ventilated smoking areas, and even the display of cigarettes in convenience stores. They must now be kept hidden behind plastic covers.
All these things have accomplished under Mr. McGuinty’s leadership. But thousands of seniors continue to live in care facilities that lack a basic, life-saving device. Why?
Retrofitting automatic sprinklers into existing facilities can be expensive. Ontario could start by mandating that all care facilities install sprinkler systems within a reasonable period and make financing available, at zero interest, to any home that would be unable to otherwise absorb the cost. Such would be an entirely justified use of public money and would allay the financial concerns of the operators of older care facilities.
Whatever the final arrangement is, Ontario has dragged its feet for far too long on this issue, ignoring the sound advice of three (now four) inquests looking into how to avoid these tragedies. It is time to end the analysis paralysis and act. Putting automatic sprinklers in every senior care facility in the province should be an absolute priority for Mr. McGuinty — and will be a far better use of his time than many of the other public-safety “accomplishments” he has already achieved.
National Post

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Showing 7 comments
  • john carman
     McGuinty's priorities are often skewed and misdirected and the failure to enact safe living conditions in retirement and nursing homes by putting sprinkler systems into the building code is a classic example.
  • Rick Bonsteel
    I'm not convinced that the gubmint should stick its nose into yet another area. Surely nursing homes that have sprinkler systems -- and, more importantly, good smoke alarms -- could use it as an advantage, and the concerned families of these seniors could make a rational decision.
  • Smokey_fortyfive31
    We can pretty well guess that when Premier Dad becomes ex-Premier Granddaddy he’ll get the residence with the sprinklers. By that time, his government will have legislated a death penalty for smokers, gun owners, citizens that aren’t green enough, eaters of junk food, and every married man that is eviscerated through divorce laws enacted by his minions. We can hardly wait for the book and the movie to come out “Dangerous Dalton McGuinty Destroys Ontario” a sequel to “The Blob That Ate New York”. What do you expect from a bunch of miscreants who would rather teach sex to youngsters rather than economics?
  • Rational
    Why haven't McGuinty and the Liberals done anything?  Why should they?  Seniors in retirement homes are not organized and unlike to vote against McGuinty, whereas the owners of the homes are organized and would vote against McGuinty if he raised their costs.
    This is exactly how McGuinty makes decisions.  The Greens are organized, so lets put in an arbitrary Green belt that costs farmers millions in lost value, but they don't vote Liberal anyway.  And to make the farmers look bad, the Liberals funded Friends of the Greenbelt to do their dirty work for them.
    The Working Families Coalitian is well organized, so let's give all these quasi-public sector workers (teachers, fire fighters, police, etc.) huge unsustainable wages beating up on the parents of children with autism. 
    The Greens are so organized, lets give them the Green Energy Act, with Feed in Tariffs that hammer small businesses and the average house owner while claiming to do something about pollution.
    Gays are oganized while people are down on religion, so lets force Catholic Schools to have groups called Gay Straight Alliance regardless of their religion. (note, this is nothing to do with schools supporting human rights,...
    show more
  • Nanowit
    With you 100%.  Most cost-effective way to save lives!
  • northern vigor
    Why doesn't Dalton legislate sprinklers? Check the Liberal membership, and donation lists...probably one owns a old folks home without sprinklers.
    There is a pattern here...when a Liberal big cheese owns wind farms...wind farms get subsidized. Also, it was a Liberal fund raiser, that was a director in the Toronto Cricket Club that wrangled the $270,000 provincial grant for the club.
  • Always Ask
    Developers don't want them.
    Developers are amongst the biggest contributors to the Liberal AND Conservative parties in Ontario.
    Which is both why Dalton is doing nothing, and Hudak isn't calling him on the carpet over it.
    What's some dead seniors when there's elections to win, and pockets to line.
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