Monday, October 28, 2013

Two LAPD officers injured in deadly Panorama City apartment fire

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Two Los Angeles police officers were injured after a fire Monday morning ripped through a Panorama City apartment where firefighters found a body, an LAPD spokesperson said.
The police officers were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation and released shortly after, according to Officer Drake Madison of the Los Angeles Police Department. A 14-year-old boy was also injured in the fire, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said.
No information has been released on the deceased individual, Scott said.
Firefighters responded to the blaze in the 8800 block of Tobias Avenue at 8:39 a.m. Firefighters saw smoke coming from the second floor of the 52-year-old apartment building. Thirty-nine firefighters were at the scene and controlled the flames in 14 minutes, Scott said. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Residential sprinkler system suppresses apartment fire


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Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:00 pm
The Pearland Fire Department responded to a kitchen fire in a multi-story apartment building located in the 6500 block of Broadway on Sunday, Oct. 20. After arriving, fire department officials discovered that the fire had been extinguished by the fire sprinkler system installed in the building.
At the time of the fire, the resident was cooking on the stovetop when spilled grease caused a fire on the stovetop burner. The sprinkler system is credited with protecting the lives and personal property of everyone living in the apartment building.

Residential fires cause thousands of injuries and billions of dollars of property damage every year. Studies conducted by the United States Fire Administration have indicated that the installation of residential fire sprinklers could have saved thousands of lives and eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. On average, the cost of a fire sprinkler system is approximately $1 to $1.50 per square foot when installed during a new home construction – a relatively small cost given the protection the systems provide.
Also, many insurance companies offer a discount of between 5 and 15 percent for homeowners who have fire sprinklers installed. The Pearland Fire Marshal recommends that all homeowners consider installing a residential sprinkler system in their home. For more information, please contact Shohn Davison at 281-652-1965 or or visit

Monday, October 21, 2013

Woman who died in Burbank house fire is identified


The woman who died in a house fire in Burbank over the weekend was identified Monday as 69-year-old Irmhild Marcaccio.
Firefighters who responded to the house fire around 9:20 p.m. Saturday arrived to find it fully engulfed.
Witnesses said a relative re-entered the house in the 900 block of North Evergreen in a desperate attempt to save Marcaccio before firefighters arrived, but to no avail, KTLA-TV reported.
“She just ran back in … and she came out,” said Tessa Chandler, a next-door neighbor. “By the time the firefighters got here she was like, ‘Why haven’t they gotten her out? Why haven’t they gotten her out?’”
Marcaccio’s son and daughter-in-law were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries,according to the Burbank Leader.
Marcaccio died from smoke inhalation, Burbank police said. 
Animal control officers were also called in, reportedly for a dead dog.
The blaze, which was extinguished within 20 minutes, destroyed the house.
Although fire officials had not officially determined the cause of the blaze, neighbors said the house had no electricity and that its residents used candles for light.
“I wish something, somewhere along the line, there could have been a prevention,” Chandler said.

Fire sprinklers missing in thousands of apartment buildings

from mercurynews

By Joshua Melvin and Thomas Peele
POSTED:   10/20/2013 09:38:46 PM PDT | UPDATED:   ABOUT 2 HOURS AGO

Questions are being raised about the adequacy of the state's fire sprinkler requirements following the burning of a Redwood City apartment building last week that lacked that key piece of safety equipment.
Like tens of thousands of Bay Area apartment buildings, the 73-unit Terrace Apartments complex, built in 1963, was not required to have sprinklers. A nearly identical fire at a 1960s-era building blocks away, also without sprinklers, killed a man in July and sent 18 people to hospitals.
Even though the state in 1989 mandated fire sprinklers in new apartments, and despite the overwhelming consensus among firefighters that sprinklers save lives and property, state law does not require them to be retrofitted in older structures, where millions of Californians live.
"There is a perception out there that these things are prohibitively expensive," said Craig Oliver, president of California Building Officials, a statewide organization. "I admit they are not real cheap, but what value do you put on people's lives?"
The head of a state apartment owners group bluntly agreed that landlords' reluctance to bear the cost is the reason that most older apartment buildings haven't been retrofitted with sprinklers.
"Show me the money," said Dan Faller, president of the Apartment Owners Association of California, Inc., which represents more than 20,000 owners. "We always go back to who is going to pay for it. If they're going to pass a law like that, where's the money?"
He said tenants who want fire sprinklers don't "have to rent that apartment if it doesn't have the amenities they want."
To fire officials, sprinklers are not amenities. Buildings without sprinklers "represent a significant hazard to the occupants and firefighters," especially those with floors more than 75 feet above the ground, the International Fire Chiefs' Association says on its website. It wants governments around the world to mandate retrofitting with automatic sprinkler systems.
"Fire sprinklers do save lives," said Redwood City fire Marshal Jim Palisi, who was quick to point out Thursday that sprinklers likely would have slowed the spread of the Terrace Apartments fire.
Contractors specializing in sprinkler installation say retrofitting can cost as much as $5 per square foot. The average cost of sprinklers in new buildings runs $3 to $4 per square foot.
Several Terrace Apartments residents said they knew their building lacked fire sprinklers but chose to live there anyway.
"You don't think it's going to happen to you, and you don't worry about it," said displaced tenant Nicole Redman, 27. "You don't think it's going to happen to your building. I think I'll be looking for sprinklers in my next apartment. And I'll be looking at escape routes."
U.S. Census data show California has about 3.9 million apartment buildings, which is 29 percent of the state's housing stock.
In the nine-county Bay Area, plus Santa Cruz and San Joaquin counties, apartment buildings make up 30 percent of the housing stock. San Francisco has the most buildings with 20 or more units -- nearly 100,000 -- and Alameda County has 95,000, data show. Most were built before sprinklers were required.
When California's building and fire codes were changed to require sprinklers in all new apartment buildings in 1989 and new single-family homes in 2011, the state left mandatory retrofitting up to cities and counties.
The state's fire agency maintains that sprinklers and smoke alarms "are the best form of fire protection there is," said Cal Fire spokesman Dennis Mathisen. "But in terms of looking at retrofitting, we would leave that to local jurisdictions to decide what's best for them."
Oliver, the head of the state building officials organization, said he was unaware of any cities that require sprinkler retrofits in older buildings unless they are undergoing major renovations or expansions.
It could take a disaster to force change, he said.
"It's kind of grim to say this, but we need another disaster. We didn't get earthquake provisions until the (Loma Prieta) quake," Oliver said. "Something's got to happen."
Staff writer Daniel J. Willis contributed to this story. Contact Thomas Peele Follow him at Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at

Friday, October 18, 2013

L.A. high-rise fire: Building predates state law requiring sprinklers


The 25-story West Los Angeles high-rise where an 11th-floor fire erupted Friday is not required to have sprinkler system throughout the building under state fire codes.
L.A. fire officials said the Barrington Plaza apartments in the 11700 block of Wilshire Boulevard is not equipped with a sprinkler system, but because it was built 52 years ago, it does not fall under state regulations adopted in 1974 that require buildings taller than 75 feet to include such fire-suppression systems.
Two residents suffered smoke-related injuries after the blaze broke out about 11:45 a.m. Within minutes, huge plumes of black smoke were billowing out of several windows and flames began to climb up the exterior.
Three balconies above the blaze were scorched black from the fire. The building is nearly 380,000 square feet and has 472 units.
In less than an hour much of the smoke and flames had subsided and the blaze was mostly contained with crews checking apartments for other hot spots. More than 200 firefighters were dispatched to the blaze, which was "mostly contained" shortly after 1 p.m., fire department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
Residents on and above the 11th floor, though not all of them, heeded the fire alarm and evacuated, Humphrey said. At least two residents were being treated for smoke inhalation, with one being taken to the hospital, he added.

Monday, October 14, 2013

County continues investigation into fire sprinklers, voluntary recall


Published: October 13, 2013 
Beaufort County officials are still investigating whether fire sprinklers in the Hilton Head Island library or any other county buildings had components that were recalled more than a decade ago.
County staff will issue a report of its findings by Friday and will eventually present the report to the Beaufort County Council, according to county attorney Josh Gruber.
The county is working with a fire-sprinkler contractor to determine whether the broken sprinkler that doused the Friends of the Library bookshop last month was included of a voluntary recall program by manufacturer Central Sprinkler Co.
The report this week will address that question, recommend whether the sprinkler system at the Hilton Head library should be replaced, and identify any other county government buildings where models included in the recall are installed, Gruber said.
County administrator Gary Kubic said he hasn't been involved in the investigation and couldn't comment until the report is issued.
The 1997 ELOC concealed-pendant sprinkler is one of nearly 50 types of sprinkler heads recalled by the Central Sprinkler Co. in July 2001. A photo of one of the sprinkler heads in the Hilton Head library's Friends of the Library bookshop, taken Sept. 26 by The Island Packet, indicated that model was still in use there.
The recall involved 33 million systems that use pipes filled with pressurized water and that were manufactured between 1989 and 2000. Under the recall, sprinkler heads were replaced at the manufacturer's expense with ones containing a more reliable rubber seal.
Fire-sprinkler systems in county buildings are inspected twice a year, county spokeswoman Joy Nelson said.
On Sept. 26, an inspection tag from Sentry Sprinklers Inc. was seen hanging on the system in the sprinkler room of the Hilton Head library. The tag is dated April 26, 2013.
Follow reporter Zach Murdock at

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Benefits of Fire Sprinklers Demonstrated in Ware



Ware, Mass (WGGB)-The Ware Fire Department in cooperation with The National Fire Sprinkler Association put on a live demonstration today showing the benefits of residential sprinklers.  The demonstration took place earlier this afternoon at a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store on Palmer Road in Ware.  Residents were able to see a side by side demonstration of two rooms on fire, one with a sprinkler system, and one without.  Fire Chief Thomas Coulombe was at the demonstration and said, “We always do a great job reaching the kids in school during our safety program; It’s awfully hard to demonstrate why you want to do the stop drop and roll without any fear or any actual smoke”.  Chief Coulombe felt that the demonstration was a great opportunity to show kids and residents first hand why it’s important to stay low to the ground during a fire and how to protect yourself .  The demonstration was recorded by Palmer Local Access, and Chief Coulombe intends to show kids this demonstration during Fire Prevention Weeks.  For more information on The National Fire Sprinkler Association please visit

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cost of home fire sprinklers at all-time lows; benefits still high


Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:00 pm | Updated: 4:34 am, Fri Oct 11, 2013

Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:00 pm | Updated: 4:34 am, Fri Oct 11, 2013.

(BPT) - When it comes to the safety of your home and family, you would probably say money is no object. Yet cost (real or perceived) has long deterred many homeowners from considering a residential fire sprinkler system to protect their homes. The systems cut the risk of dying in a home fire by 80 percent, have broad support from safety experts and can even qualify you for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance. But until now, a perception of high cost has overshadowed those positives.
A new study reveals that the price of residential fire sprinkler systems has dropped significantly, creating an opportunity for safety-minded homeowners to tap the many benefits of sprinklers.
In 2008, the average per-foot cost of a residential fire sprinkler system was $1.61; in 2013, the average per-foot cost has plunged to $1.35, according to a report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Multipurpose systems that use a home’s cold-water supply, rather than a separate piping system, are even more affordable – just $1.23 per square foot, the report found.
And costs are likely to drop even lower, one expert says.
“More communities are considering, or have already implemented, fire sprinkler requirements for new, single-family homes,” says Eric Skare, a volunteer firefighter and fire safety systems product manager for Uponor North America (, an Apple Valley, Minn.-based sprinkler system manufacturer. “Growing demand has resulted in increased competition and lower installed costs for these systems. Manufacturers competing for market share continue to develop lower-cost products to ensure the cost-effectiveness of residential fire sprinkler systems.”
The lower cost is good news for anyone interested in protecting their home with a fire sprinkler system, Skare says. The benefits of such systems are many:
* Eighty percent of all fire deaths occur in residential fires. While functioning smoke alarms reduce the risk of home fire fatalities by 50 percent, sprinklers slash the risks by 80 percent, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
* Multipurpose systems – like those provided by Uponor – reduce the amount of piping needed to supply sprinkler systems because they tie into a home’s existing cold-water plumbing system. Instead of two piping systems - plumbing and fire-sprinkler - the builder need install only one, reducing material, labor costs and jobsite-scheduling hassles, saving 35 percent to 65 percent in installation time over standalone, rigid CPVC systems. That, in turn, should result in a lower cost to the home buyer.
* Homeowners insurance companies provide an average premium discount of 7 percent to homes with fire sprinkler systems, according to the Fire Protection Research Foundation.
* Home fire sprinkler systems act quickly to reduce heat, flames and smoke from fire, giving families valuable time to safely get out of a burning home. “Sprinklers extinguish most home fires in seconds, before the fire department arrives and before major damage can occur,” Skare notes. In fact, sprinklers are far less damaging than fire hoses used by firefighting teams. One study in Scottsdale, Ariz., found the average fire damage loss for a home without sprinklers was more than $45,000; with sprinklers, losses shrink to slightly more than $2,100.
* Sprinklers enhance home value. Forty-five percent of homeowners prefer a home with fire sprinklers and nearly 75 percent say the presence of sprinklers increases a home’s value, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalitionreports.
Perhaps the most compelling argument in favor of sprinklers is the cost-to-value ratio. The average total cost for installing a multipurpose fire sprinkler system is around $6,000, according to the Fire Protection Research Foundation report.
“That investment could buy your family the extra time they need to escape a home fire,” Skare says.
For more information on residential fire sprinkler systems, visit

APARTMENT FIRE: Sprinklers Put Out Flames


Posted on: 1:23 pm, October 11, 2013, by updated on: 01:24pm, October 11, 2013

Generic Fire

The Des Moines Fire Department says a sprinkler system helped keep a fire from spreading at an apartment complex for seniors.
Fire crews were called to South View Senior Living Apartments at 1900 SE 6th Street around 1:30 Thursday. When they arrived they found a fire on a stove in one of the apartments. The sprinkler system in the apartment quickly put out the fire.
No one was injured and officials say the damage was contained to one apartment.