NOVATO (BCN) — An automatic sprinkler located above a dumpster next to a restaurant put out a fire Wednesday that could have spread to the restaurant, according to the Novato Fire District.
Firefighters responded at about 10:30 p.m. to the fire in the dumpster in the 100 block of Vintage Way and verified that the fire was out.
“This is a great example of how automatic fire sprinklers protect property, and keep businesses open,” Novato Battalion Chief, Fire Marshal Bill Tyler said in a statement. “If there was no fire sprinkler present, we could have had a large structure fire.”
Crews replaced the sprinkler head and restored the automatic sprinkler system to its regular operating condition.
Restaurant employees had discarded mesquite and hot coals into the dumpster, igniting the paper and cardboard inside. The sprinkler that put out the fire is on a wood trellis above the dumpster.
"The sprinkler system is your on duty fire department living inside your residence," explained Peoria Fire Division Chief Phillip Maclin.
Sprinkler systems are required in apartment complexes and commercial buildings.
Fire officials are now advocating for more communities to mandate them for new homes.
Bob Tinucci with the National Fire Sprinkler Association said, "Similar to what we did with smoke detectors in the 80's, carbon monoxide detectors in the 90's. The closest analogy I have is in the car industry the requirement to put seat belts in those cars to build in that passive life safety."
Almost 100 Illinois communities now have a residential sprinkler ordinance.
There's only one section of Peoria that requires residential sprinklers. It's a subdivision on Frye Road and it's all because of the size of the water line.
Dave Finn has one of those houses and he said it's added peace of mind, "This is the biggest investment of our life and the house is very special to us, so the last thing we'd want to do is have a fire start."
About a mile away it's not required and Mick Lacy doesn't have them. He said it's a great idea, but it should be a personal decision, not a mandate.
"If it's all ashes on the ground, it's worth it," said Lacy.
It costs about $1.35 to $2.00 per square foot for new construction.
It's estimated about 10-percent of U.S. homes have fire sprinklers. Officials home eventually it will be the norm.