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Sprinkler system credited with putting out fire in community center
A small fire Wednesday morning at the North End Community Center was put out quickly by a sprinkler system before it could cause any damage, according to the Yuma Fire Department.
Spokesman Mike Erfert said shortly before 4 a.m., YFD received an alarm that indicated the sprinkler system at the North End Community Center, 160 E. 1st St., had activated. When firefighters arrived on scene they found water coming from under a workshop door and a slight odor of smoke.
Once inside the building, Erfert said firefighters found that the fire had been burning on a stack of cardboard boxes in the center's workshop. It, however, had already been extinguished by a single sprinkler head directly above the fire and had not spread beyond the box.
“It points out the value of sprinkler systems,” Erfert said. “It makes a huge difference as far as the damage goes.”
With the fire already out, Erfert said firefighters shut down the water flow to the sprinkler head, removed the water from the floors and ventilated the remaining smoke from the building. The center was not occupied at the time of the fire.
Erfert said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but it appears to have started in materials on top of the boxes. There was no indication of the fire being intentionally set. The North End Community Center was able to remain open for its regular schedule of events.
Erfert said fire sprinkler systems can keep fires from spreading and can also extinguish them. Fire spreads quickly, he added, and can double in size every minute. Even small fires can cause significant damage to personal property and endanger those nearby.
He also said contrary to many Hollywood portrayals, only sprinkler heads directly exposed to the heat of the fire activate, not those in the rest of the room, building, or complex.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.