(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Fire Department says a sprinkler system saved an apartment building from widespread damage last month. Deputy Fire Chief Matt Christian told the city’s Police and Fire Commission last (Tuesday) night that the new apartments on Mary Ann Road were equipped with sprinklers that extinguished the fire prior to the arrival of first responders. Christian says such incidents are why fire departments around the state stress the importance of sprinklers in multi-family structures and apartment complexes.
The most recent law adopted by the state Legislature calls for sprinklers only in buildings with 20 or more units. However, an interpretation of administrative rules by the Department of Safety and Professional Services at one point required fire sprinklers for apartment buildings with three to 20 units. Different state attorneys general have interpreted the mandate differently and Christian believes the tides may be turning toward having a requirement in place for three or more units.
Last month’s fire, which was reported just after 3pm on November 13, was confined to the garage located directly below the apartments. Crews arrived on scene to find smoke visible from the garage. There was some minor water damage but not much else and no injuries. Fire Chief Alan Mannal said at the time that without the sprinklers installed, the fire may have been (quote) “catastrophic.”