Fire Sprinkler Saves Evanston High-Rise Residents, Yet Again, in 2016

Photo courtesy of Google Maps Street View.

The Mather in Evanston (photo courtesy of Google Maps Street View)

On December 20, a single fire sprinkler extinguished a fire after a stovetop burner was left on and ignited nearby boxes of food in a residence at The Mather, a 10-story senior living facility in Evanston. According to fire officials, no one was injured and over $150,000 in damage was prevented thanks to the quick action of the fire sprinkler.

The sprinkler save marks the second time this year that fire sprinklers prevented major fires at residential high-rises in Evanston. In March, a single fire sprinkler extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment unit of the 11-story Housing Authority of Cook County’s Perlman Apartments high-rise. The building recently had been retrofitted with fire sprinklers in November 2015.

When the Mather was built in the late 2000s, former Evanston fire officials Michael Rons (plan reviewer), Tom Janetske (fire marshal) and Alan Berkowsky (fire chief) oversaw the fire safety system installations, including the fire sprinklers, which were installed by USA Fire Protection from Lake Forest.

“Both of the buildings where the fire sprinkler saves occurred this year have senior residents that are at high risk in the event of fires, according to the NFPA. Also, there is the added risk due to limited escape routes in high-rises,” says Evanston Fire Captain John Roche. “In each case, a single fire sprinkler averted a potentially serious incident.”

“By following national model codes that require fire sprinkler protection in high-rises, Evanston city officials are ensuring the safety of high-rise residents. That gives the city a huge life safety advantage over the city of Chicago, which unfortunately does not require all high-rises to be sprinklered,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.

 

2019-08-14T14:50:31-06:00December 21st, 2016|0 Comments

Successful Activations (Fall/Winter 2016 Edition)

Download a sprinkler save report to record your fire department’s latest successful fire sprinkler activations.

December 2016

The Mather (High-Rise)
Evanston Fire Department

A single fire sprinkler extinguished a fire after a stovetop burner was left on and ignited nearby boxes of food in a residence the 10-story senior living facility. According to fire officials, no one was injured and over $150,000 in damage was prevented thanks to the quick action of the fire sprinkler.

“A single fire sprinkler averted a potentially serious incident,” said Evanston Fire Captain John Roche.

Read the full story.
John Roche, Captain/Inspector,
Evanston Fire Department

Asbury Court Retirement Community
Des Plaines Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the five-story retirement community building kept a fire under control until fire crews arrived.
ChicagoFireMap.net

November 2016

McDonald’s
Bolingbrook Fire Department

The fast-food restaurant’s fire sprinkler system extinguished a fire caused by a fryer.
Bolingbrook Patch

Prestwick Senior Community
Galena Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the three-story senior living apartment complex put out a fire caused by a stove that was accidentally left on by a resident. No one was injured.
Dubuque Telegraph Herald

Ogilvie Transportation Center (High-Rise)
Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the 43-story commercial building and Metra train terminal extinguished a fire at a newstand on the second floor. There were no Metra delays and no one was injured.
Chicago Patch

Lawson House YMCA (High-Rise)
Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the hotel extinguished a trash can fire in a third-floor room. A small dog was found safe and no person was present in the room at the time of the fire.
Ed Prendergast, P.E.

Public Works Facility
Wheaton Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the city’s public works facility held a fire in check that began in the bed of a dump truck in one of the maintenance garage bays. No injuries were reported and the building was open again that morning.
Read the full story.
ChicagoFireMap.net

Park Hill Cleaners
Orland Fire Protection District

The fire sprinkler system in the dry cleaners extinguished a fire that was intentionally set to toilet paper rolls by a young man. No injuries were reported.
Michael Schofield, Fire Chief,
Orland Fire Protection District

October 2016

Presby Hall Parking Garage (University of Illinois)
Champaign Fire Department

Fire sprinklers controlled a fire caused by a brisket being grilled on a cooking unit in the parking garage.
The Daily Illini

South Chicago YMCA of Metro Chicago
Chicago Fire Department

A fire sprinkler in a hallway of the building activated to contain a fire to the apartment of origin.
Dan Kennedy

2019-08-14T14:58:13-06:00December 8th, 2016|0 Comments

Successful Activations (Summer 2016 Edition)

Download a sprinkler save report to record your fire department’s latest successful fire sprinkler activations.

September 2016

Extended Stay America
Gurnee Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the hotel extinguished a trash can fire in a third-floor room. A small dog was found safe and no person was present in the room at the time of the fire.
Fred Friedl, Fire Chief,
Gurnee Fire Department

Arlington Nissan
Arlington Heights Fire Department

Before firefighters even arrived on the scene, the fire sprinkler system at the automobile dealership extinguished an overnight fire that was caused by a car that was brought in for service in one of the warehouse bays. The business was able to open that morning.

“It all worked out well, and it’s a great thing that they had working sprinklers,” said Arlington Heights Battalion Chief Tom Zerfass. “Sometimes people worry about water damage, but sprinklers always do more good than harm.”
Arlington Heights Post

Public Works Facility
Wilmette Fire Department

Two sprinklers contained a fire in a storage room of the garage, which houses most of Wilmette’s public works vehicles and equipment. Fire crews provided final extinguishment for small spot fires underneath metal shelving.
“The building is over 60 years old and the entire roof is constructed of open wood trusses. If not for the fire sprinklers, the fire would have extended to the roof in a matter of minutes and would have resulted in a multi-million dollar fire loss and an interruption in service to the residents of Wilmette for months,” said Wilmette Fire Chief Mike McGreal.

“Credit should be given to the previous administration, facilities management, fire prevention bureau, and the village board for having the forethought of retrofitting the public works garage with fire sprinklers when an addition was added adjacent and connecting the garage for administrative offices. The addition itself did not make it a requirement to install fire sprinklers to the adjacent garage, but all parties involved agreed this added expense was worth it,” adds McGreal.
Mike McGreal, Fire Chief,
Wilmette Fire Department

Imperial Motors Jaguar
Wilmette Fire Department

Prior to fire crew arrival, a single fire sprinkler extinguished a burning material that fell from a ceiling light fixture in a corner of the automobile dealer’s showroom, minimizing smoke and fire damage in the building and saving millions of dollars in automobile inventory.
“This is a much better outcome than the Women’s Club fire of February 2015, which was a total loss and required hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to extinguish. That fire could have been extinguished the same way with a hundred or so gallons of water,” said Wilmette Fire Chief Mike McGreal. “Imperial Motors was open for business the next morning, whereas the Women’s Club will probably not yet open for another year.”
Mike McGreal, Fire Chief,
Wilmette Fire Department

August 2016

Business
Buffalo Grove Fire Department

Three fire sprinklers in the key fob business held an electrical fire in check, which spread to cardboard and plastic totes, until fire crews arrived for full extinguishment.
Bill Wagner, Deputy Chief,
Buffalo Grove Fire Department

Commercial Building
Countryside Fire Protection District

One fire sprinkler controlled a fire caused by an electrical panel fire.
Ron Cielek, Lieutenant/Fire Marshal,
Countryside Fire Protection District

Valley View Apartments
Moline Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the two-story apartment building extinguished a fire that was caused by a plastic ice cooler left on an operating electric stovetop in the kitchen of one of the units. Damage was contained to the apartment unit of origin and no injuries were reported.
Dispatch-Argus

July 2016

Warehouse
Danville Fire Division

The fire sprinkler system in the warehouse controlled a trailer fire in the loading dock. No injuries were reported.
WCIA-TV

Industrial Building
Roselle Fire Department

Two sprinklers held a loading dock fire in check that began when the garage door contractor was cutting a metal spring and the molten embers fell into wood storage containers that were filled with packing paper. There was no damage to the structure or its contents other than the three wood containers. Estimated loss was less than $1,000.
Robert Morris, Fire Marshal,
Roselle Fire Department

Presidential Towers (High-Rise)
Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the residential high-rise put out a small kitchen fire.
ChicagoFireMap.net

June 2016

Courtyard Estates
Peoria Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the assisted living facility controlled a fire from an air conditioning unit in a fourth-floor apartment. No one was injured.

WMBD-TV

Crab & Spice
Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District

The fire sprinkler system in the strip mall restaurant in Woodridge extinguished a small electrical fire in a closet, preventing the fire from spreading to the attic or adjacent tenants.

The sprinkler save is significant because the restaurant recently went through renovations in August 2015, which required modifications to the fire sprinkler system to maintain complete coverage in the space.
Chris Hull, Fire Inspector,
Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District

AbbVie
North Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the pharmaceutical research and development facility held an apparent electrical fire in check in a laboratory and electronics storage room. No injuries were reported.
This was the second example of a sprinkler containing a fire at the facility in the last three months.

Lake County News-Sun

Apartment
Elgin Fire Department

A fire sprinkler in a fourth-floor apartment extinguished an unattended cooking fire on a kitchen stove. There were no injuries to residents or firefighters. Damage was limited to only $5,000.

Elgin Fire Department news release

McKernan Packaging
Streator Fire Department

Fire sprinklers in the warehouse helped control a fire deep in pallets of boxes containing plastic bottles. No injuries were reported.

Pantagraph

Goodfellas Pub & Pizza
Pekin Fire Department

Fire sprinklers in the restaurant held an arson fire in check until fire crews arrived. A disgruntled employee intentionally started the fire by setting a box of cooking oil on the kitchen burners and set them to full blast, as well as the broiler and fryer. He then spread cooking oil on the walls and closed down the business for the night. There was only minor damage from the fire.
Pekin Daily Times

Condominium Building
Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District

One fire sprinkler controlled and extinguished a dumpster fire at the bottom of the trash chute in the five-story condominium building.
Eric Norlin, Fire Marshal,
Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District

Hotel
Monee Fire Protection District

A single fire sprinkler controlled a fire caused by a battery pack that was charging on a mattress in a first-floor room in the two-story hotel. The battery pack had exploded, which set the pillows and mattress on fire. The room was unoccupied at the time of the fire and no guests were injured.
All guests were allowed to return to their rooms approximately 40 minutes after the smoke was cleared out of the halls. Damage was contained to the room of the fire’s origin.
Carl Nieland, Fire Chief,
Monee Fire Protection District

Warehouse
Elk Grove Village Fire Department

Fire sprinklers in the several-hundred-thousand-square-foot warehouse controlled a loading dock fire that began in a truck trailer filled with cleaning and restaurant supplies. No injuries were reported.
Elk Grove Village Fire Chief Richard Mikel noted that had the building not been equipped with a fire sprinkler system, the building itself would have likely caught fire causing a vastly larger blaze.
Journal & Topics Newspapers

May 2016

Epiworks
Champaign Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the semiconductor manufacturer’s building contained a small fire in a laboratory clean room. Firefighters only needed fire extinguishers to put out the remaining fire. No injuries were reported.
The News-Gazette

Hitz Memorial Home
Alhambra Community Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the nursing home and independent living facility controlled an arson fire that was set by an unhappy resident.

Captain T. Mike Dixon, chief of investigations for the Madison County Sheriff Department, said the staff’s quick action and the sprinkler system prevented any serious injuries.

KTVI-TV

Aramark Uniform Services
Metropolis Fire Department

The facility’s fire sprinkler system contained a fire until firefighters arrived on scene for full extinguishment.
KFVS-TV

Claridge Apartments
Evanston Fire Department

Two sprinklers in the low-income housing development held in check and extinguished fires in a fourth-floor apartment in the 48-unit building. The fires began when a careless smoker, who accidentally set a pile of clothing on her bed ablaze, panicked, threw the pile of clothing into the bathtub and ran away. The sprinkler in the bedroom extinguished the smoldering mattress, while the sprinkler in the bathroom controlled the fire that spread from the bathtub to the shower curtain and towels. No residents or firefighters were injured.
John Roche, Captain/Inspector,
Evanston Fire Department

April 2016

Petsmart
Darien-Woodridge Fire Department

succ-act-petsmart-darienwoodridgeTwo sprinklers confined a fire to a fish tank filter/refrigerator in the service area behind the fish tanks in the pet store. Fire crews extinguished the remaining fire with a pump can.
The business was able to open within two days of the event with no loss of life to any of the pets that were being boarded at the time.
James Karasek, Lieutenant/Fire Prevention Bureau Director,
Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District

McHie Arena (Olivet Nazarene University)
Bourbonnais Fire Protection District

A single fire sprinkler activated and extinguished a fire in a clothes dryer in the laundry room of the university’s indoor arena. Fire officials estimate that an $12 million damage was avoided thanks to the fire sprinkler system.
“The quick activation of the sprinkler system prevented the fire from spreading throughout the structure.  Property damage was minimized, which allowed the university to maintain its daily activities without a large amount of disruption,” said Bourbonnais Deputy Fire Chief Jim Keener. “Sprinkler system activations over the last few years have saved numerous numerous amounts of properties and lives.”
Jim Keener, Deputy Fire Chief,
Bourbonnais Fire Protection District

2019-08-14T14:39:26-06:00July 8th, 2016|0 Comments

Retrofitted Fire Sprinkler System Saves Cook County Residential High-Rise in Evanston

perlman-apt-highrise-evanstonOn March 12, 2016, a single fire sprinkler extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment unit on the top floor of the Housing Authority of Cook County’s Perlman Apartments high-rise in Evanston. The tenant, who is wheelchair-bound, and her daughter were both asleep at the time of the fire. An estimated $200,000 was saved due to the quick response of the fire sprinkler.

Through guidance from the Evanston Fire Prevention Bureau, the building, which has over 100 tenants, was recently retrofitted with fire sprinklers in November 2015.

This sprinkler save proved that the fire sprinkler system was a great investment for life and property protection.

“If not for the sprinkler, the tenant would probably not be here today. Other seniors on her floor would have been in jeopardy as well,” said Evanston Fire Captain John Roche.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the upgrade to the suppression system saved the day for us, but more importantly, the lives of the residents and limited the damage to this property,” added Fire Chief Greg Klaiber.

2019-08-14T15:25:17-06:00March 31st, 2016|0 Comments

Successful Activations (Spring 2016 Edition)

Download a sprinkler save report to record your fire department’s latest successful fire sprinkler activations.

May 2016

Townhome
Fox Lake Fire Protection District

A fire sprinkler controlled a fire in the garage of a four-unit townhome, allowing the residents to escape unharmed by preventing the fire from spreading to inside the residence and the three other attached units.
Read full story
David Becker, Fire Marshal,
Fox Lake Fire Protection District

April 2016

U.S. Cellular Field
Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system at the ballpark for the Chicago White Sox contained an early morning fire in a storage area. The successful activation came on the morning of the White Sox home opener against the Cleveland Indians.
“This one was more than a save for fire sprinklers, it was a save for baseball, and it really shows how important fire sprinklers are in the early containment of a fire,“ said Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. “Because of fire sprinklers, and the quick actions of the Chicago Fire Department, there are a lot of fans out there who are going to enjoy an opening day they might not otherwise have been able to see. This fire might have been a curve ball for opening day, but fire sprinklers definitely hit a home run.”
Read full story
Multiple media outlets

Oak Lawn Respiratory & Rehabilitation Center
Oak Lawn Fire Department

The nursing home’s fire sprinkler system controlled a clothes dryer fire in the basement until fire crews arrived. Everyone safely evacuated the building and no injuries were reported.. Firefighters did not need their hose lines, but rather fire extinguishers to complete extinguishment. Once the building was aired out, the patients were able to return to their rooms.
Oak Lawn Patch

Lexington Health Care
Orland Fire Protection District

The retirement home’s fire sprinkler system quickly controlled a fire, caused by a coffee maker on a shelf, as it spread to a desk and an adjacent wall in a basement maintenance area.
Fire officials said the quick response of the fire sprinkler system saved lives and minimized damage, stating that it could have been a far worse fire without fire sprinklers. Damage was limited to the desk and shelves. When firefighters arrived, they only needed to use a fire extinguisher to completely extinguish the smoldering fire.

“This was a perfect example of how the sprinkler system quickly prevented the fire from spreading throughout the property, and minimized the intrusion on the lives of the residents in the home,” said Orland Fire Protection District Fire Chief Michael Schofield. “Every year at our open house event, we demonstrate the role fire sprinkler systems play in saving lives and preventing damage caused by fires in businesses, properties like assisted living centers, and even in private homes.”

Since the fire sprinkler system limited the spread of the fire, no residents needed be moved or evacuated and the daily operations of the facility were not interrupted.
Read full story
Michael Schofield, Fire Chief,
Orland Fire Protection District

Peel Wood Fired Pizza
O’Fallon Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system inside the restaurant prevented an outside dumpster fire, which entered the back wall, from getting inside the rest of the building.
KSDK-TV

March 2016

Perlman Apartments (Housing Authority of Cook County)
Evanston Fire Department

A single fire sprinkler extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment unit on the top floor of the high-rise building. The tenant, who is wheelchair-bound, and her daughter were both asleep at the time of the fire. An estimated $200,000 was saved due to the quick response of the fire sprinkler.
The building, which has over 100 tenants, was just recently retrofitted with fire sprinklers in November 2015.
“If not for the sprinkler, the tenant would probably not be here today. Other seniors on her floor would have been in jeopardy as well,” said Evanston Fire Captain John Roche.
Read full story
John Roche, Captain/Inspector,
Evanston Fire Department

February 2016

Biggers Chevrolet
Elgin Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system at the car dealership controlled a fire, confining it and limited its spread, until fire crews arrived on the scene. The damage was confined to a heating unit in the shop area, a spray booth and the roof covering.

No one was injured and damage was limited to only $40,000 to the structure and its contents.
“We could have lost a car dealership last night but fire sprinklers kept the fire in check and our guys finished the job,” said Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy.
John Fahy, Fire Chief,
Elgin Fire Department

Walgreens (Corporate Headquarters)
Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Protection District

The fire sprinkler system at the Deerfield office building contained a fire in a walk-in cooler.
“The large office building was built without fire sprinklers back in the 1970s, but in 2011, Walgreens worked with Chris Johnson and the fire prevention bureau to retrofit a sprinkler system and update the fire alarm system. This was not required, but because of the dedication of a full-time staffed bureau and a long-standing, progressive and positive relationship, the project was seen to completion,” says Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Ray Larson.
Ray Larson, Deputy Chief,
Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Protection District

Trump Tower
Chicago Fire Department

Fire sprinklers in the 98-story high-rise controlled a fire in a trash compactor on the 50th floor, preventing injuries, deaths and major property damage.
Read full story
Multiple media reports

Scott Hall – University of Illinois
Champaign Fire Department

One fire sprinkler extinguished an overnight trash can fire in a common area garbage closet on the second floor of the residence hall.
“The sprinkler system did its job,” said Urbana Fire Chief Brian Nightlinger.
News-Gazette

Warehouse
Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the one-story warehouse contained a fire that was located in stacks of cardboard.
ChicagoFireMap.net

Masters Shipping
Bedford Park Fire Department

A single fire sprinkler kept a fire in check the multi-tenant warehouse building. The fire began when a 480-volt electric bus run shorted out and caused sparks to fall on a stack of pallets and mattresses below. The fire smoldered for approximately 15 minutes before it began to grow and activate the fire sprinkler. There was no serious damage to the building and the business was able to reopen in a few hours.
“Thank goodness for the fire sprinklers, otherwise the building and full property would be lost,” said one of the Bedford Park fire chiefs to the business owner.
Mike Willis

January 2016

Business
Naperville Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the building, along with firefighter hoses, helped extinguish a fire in a rear storage room. There were no injuries reported.
Naperville Sun

December 2015

Chaddock School
Quincy Fire Department

Before fire crews arrived on the scene of a mattress fire at the on-campus special education school, the fire sprinkler system in one of the cottages extinguished the fire. No injuries were reported.
WGEM-TV

Senior Housing
Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the six-story residential building controlled a fourth-floor fire that was caused by an oven-related fire. The tenant, who was not in her unit at the time of the fire, accidentally left the oven on, which ignited a can of grease that she stored in tin foil on the oven rack. The fire escaped the oven and ignited a plastic appliance. The smoke hood activated but failed to extinguish the fire before the fire sprinkler activated and controlled it.
All residents escaped and all but the fourth-floor residents returned to their units following the fire. Once the fire sprinkler system was repaired and placed back in service, the remaining residents from the fourth floor returned to their units. Only the tenant in the unit where the fire occurred was unable to return that night.
Brian Driscoll,
Sprinkler Fitters Local 281

November 2016

21 Kristin Place (High-Rise)
Schaumburg Fire Department

A single fire sprinkler contained a cooking fire in one of the living units on the fourth floor of the residential high-rise. Fire damage was contained to the kitchen cabinets. There have been a number of sprinkler saves in this particular building since the fire sprinkler system was installed as part of an ordinance enacted by Schaumburg in 2004.
Michael Rons, Fire Marshal,
Schaumburg Fire Department

One Prairie Place (Governors State University)
University Park Fire Department

A fire sprinkler in the two-story, 77-unit dormitory extinguished and prevented the spread of a fire that occurred due to unattended cooking on an electric stovetop in a quad room kitchenette.

October 2015

Apartment Building
Mount Prospect Fire Department

One fire sprinkler controlled an over fire one of the dwelling units. Damage was limited to the stove area. No injuries were reported.
“The automatic fire sprinkler system performed as designed,” said Interim Fire Chief Brian Lambel.
Bryan Loomis, Fire Marshal,
Mount Prospect Fire Department

Pack Rat Enterprises
Mount Prospect Fire Department

A single fire sprinkler held a vehicle fire in check until firefighters arrived at the 60,000-square-foot warehouse. Fire damage was limited to the vehicle. No injuries were reported.
“Without the automatic fire sprinkler system and fire alarm system, the loss to this building could have been much more significant,” stated Interim Fire Chief Brian Lambel.
Bryan Loomis, Fire Marshal,
Mount Prospect Fire Department

September 2015

Multifamily Building
Lise-Woodridge Fire Protection District

A fire sprinkler in a kitchen of one of the living units put out a grease fire. By the time the resident called 9-1-1 to report the emergency, the fire already was completely extinguished by the sprinkler system. The fire department arrived to no fire and virtually no fire damage, with the exception of some scorch marks on a wall. No one was injured in the fire.
“Fires that occur in multifamily residential building can be very damaging, as they will often spread into the attic space and cause major fire and smoke damage,” said Chris Hull, fire inspector for the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District. “Fortunately, this entire residential complex underwent major renovations several years ago. As part of the construction, the Village of Woodridge required a residential fire sprinkler system to be retrofitted in every building, protecting each unit and the public corridors.”
“Because of the successful operation of the fire sprinkler system in this residential building, this fire was quickly extinguished and it did not have the opportunity to spread,” he added.
Chris Hull, Fire Inspector,
Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District

Multifamily Building
Tinley Park Fire Department

A single sidewall fire sprinkler controlled the spread of a trash can fire on the first floor of the three-story, 12-unit residential building.  Estimated damage was only $3,000 (versus an average of $80,941 for structure fires from January 2012-October 2015). No occupants were displaced.
Bill Proper, Public Education Coordinator,
Tinley Park Fire Department

February 2015

Marina City
Chicago Fire Department

The fire sprinkler system in the high-rise extinguished a fire in a trash chute.
Loop North News

2019-08-14T15:45:24-06:00January 12th, 2016|0 Comments

Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition Regroups, Hosts Summit at NFPA Conference & Expo

20150622_132341 In 2013, former National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) Regional Manager Bob Kleinheinz and Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) Executive Director Tom Lia joined together with Bob Tinucci, then-chief of the Roselle Fire Department, to establish the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition (IFSC). The group expanded the informal work that previously was being done to pass an Illinois Fire Services Association (IFSA) resolution in support of residential fire sprinklers. The IFSA comprises 13 fire-related groups as well as the sponsoring agency, the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA). The first meeting of the new IFSC drew representatives from these groups, with diverse attendance including the firefighters union, volunteer firefighters, fire districts and fire chiefs. While it had a promising beginning, the IFSC was in the very early stages of organization when the then-Illinois State Fire Marshal initiated an unexpected attempt to update a complete model code statewide, NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. It resulted in a major shift in work and outreach. The IFSC had only met once prior, with the second meeting necessarily focused on the statewide effort to upgrade the code. While the code update was unsuccessful, it prepared the IFSC for things to come. In 2014, the IFSC managed to stop a major effort to ban fire sprinklers in any new state code. Even though there were media blitzes and town hall meetings set up by fire sprinkler opponents, the subcommittee vote was held and the ban process was stopped, making it possible to continue to pass codes on a town-by-town, fire-district-by-fire-district basis as had been the fire service’s main focus for over a decade. Illinois Fire & Building Officials Day [caption id="attachment_4309" align="alignright" width="251"]20150622_093804 Newly appointed State Fire Marshal Matthew Perez speaks about the importance of home fire sprinkler protection.[/caption] With that behind and a new State Fire Marshal now appointed, the IFSC recently regrouped. To formally relaunch its activities and renew supporter interest, the IFSC brought more than 120 Illinois fire and building officials together during the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference & Expo held in Chicago in June 2015. The theme for the renewal of IFSC efforts was education. Priorities are education for the base firefighter, fire department, fire district and fire and building associations. Education is the necessary first step prior to opening up IFSC activities to other stakeholders. [caption id="attachment_4305" align="alignright" width="250"]20150622_073834 20150622_083648 20150622_084523TOP: Russ Sanders discusses NFPA resources for home fire sprinkler education. CENTER: NFSA’s Jason Webb discusses inspection, testing and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems. BOTTOM: Attorney Linda Pieczynski discusses liability for inspection, testing and maintenance.[/caption] NFPA Midwest Director Russ Sanders provided an update on all of NFPA’s programs and the varied support that is available. Due to considerable interest in maintenance issues on systems in Illinois, the meeting initially emphasized NFPA 25 and other inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) codes and standards. Jason Webb, director of ITM for NFSA, gave a detailed review of the need for regular testing as required in NFPA 25, and how to accomplish it. Attorney Linda Pieczynski offered an overview of the legal requirements, authority and liability of fire officials and building owners with regard to ITM compliance. The meeting shifted to a focus on residential fire sprinkler activities following a presentation by NFPA President Jim Pauley of a $10,000 Bringing Safety Home Grant to the IFSC. It was one of 16 grants awarded by NFPA to fund fire sprinkler advocacy campaigns in various states. The grant will fund a grassroots education program to educate the state’s elected officials by utilizing existing Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and NFPA materials. The generous award will help the IFSC educate the new state Representatives and Senators who have recently come into office; more than 47 percent of Illinois officials are newly elected since the last model code vote. [caption id="attachment_4308" align="alignright" width="251"]Members of the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition receive a "Bringing Safety Home Grant" from NFPA President Jim Pauley (left of check). 20150622_094623 TOP: Members of the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition receive a “Bringing Safety Home Grant” from NFPA President Jim Pauley (left of check). BOTTOM: Illinois jurisdictions that passed home fire sprinkler ordinances were recognized.[/caption] Recognition awards were given to officials of Illinois jurisdictions that have instituted home fire sprinkler ordinances since Illinois’ last residential fire sprinkler summit, including Addison, Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District, Brookfield, Elmwood Park, Evanston, Hazel Crest, Niles, Riverdale, Roselle, Westchester and Westmont. NIFSAB’s Tom Lia followed with a list of back-to-basics education programs for firefighter, homeowners and elected officials, with a particular focus on Firefighter Life Safety Initiative #15 and the need for fire sprinkler emphasis in fire departments’ interactions with the media following fires. [caption id="attachment_4312" align="alignright" width="251"]20150622_101005 20150622_105531 20150622_095506TOP: NIFSAB’s Tom Lia speaks about how fire sprinklers protect firefighters. CENTER: HFSC’s Peg Paul showed an educational home fire sprinkler video. BOTTOM: Vickie Pritchett talks about the advocates of Common Voices.[/caption] Peg Paul, communications manager for HFSC, gave a presentation on home fire sprinkler outreach and encouraged participants to utilize HFSC’s website and its free education materials, many of which were underwritten by past FEMA federal Fire Prevention & Safety grants. HFSC’s materials were created specifically to address the needs of firefighters, homebuilders, real estate agents, elected officials, homeowners and other interested parties. Vickie Pritchett, NFSA director of public education, updated participants on recent activities of Common Voices, an advocates’ coalition which uses fire and burn testimonial stories from those personally affected by fire to educate the public about the impact of fire. NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative communications manager Fred Durso provided an overview of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, why it was developed, how it can help local sprinkler advocates, and how to receive regular updates and information on Initiative activities beyond visits to the website. NFPA’s western regional sprinkler representative Jeff Hudson, who serves as Illinois’ Fire Sprinkler Initiative representative, noted there are now 25 state coalitions and he discussed his role in supporting them, including Illinois, as a facilitator, administrator, coordinator, and scheduler — basically doing all of the groundwork necessary to take the operational burden off of the proponents and stakeholders. [caption id="attachment_4313" align="alignright" width="250"]20150622_102953 20150622_11293420150622_113909 TOP: Fred Durso discusses the resources available through the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative. CENTER: Jeff Hudson talks about the development of state fire sprinkler coalitions. BOTTOM: Tim Sashko embraces the Illinois Fire sprinkler Coalition on behalf of the Illinois fire service.[/caption] IFCA Executive Director Tim Sashko advised that the IFSA will take up the issue of residential fire sprinkler requirements and requested representation from the 13 member organizations during the IFSA’s summer meeting. The meeting concluded with participants in agreement that the renewal was a valuable kick-start to the growth and development of a new, stronger, more representative residential-focused Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition that will help lead Illinois into a fire-safe future.  ]]>

2015-07-01T16:14:41-06:00July 1st, 2015|0 Comments

ALERT: Illinois Fire Service Predicts Severely Heightened Number of Fire Incidents Through October

Officials in the Illinois fire service are predicting a dramatic uptick in intentionally set fires in the state of Illinois through October, stating that the fires will be widespread through dozens of communities. Studies have been able to pinpoint the locations of where the fires will occur and even the dates on which they will occur. Fire officials ask that community members in the following locations (and potentially more locations) stay alert and be on the lookout for any fire activity:

  • Oct. 4: Vernon Hills (Countryside Fire Protection District)
  • Oct. 5: Bartlett, Clarendon Hills, Crystal Lake, Darien, Dupo, Harwood Heights (Norwood Park Fire Protection District), Highland Park, Palatine, Romeoville
  • Oct. 6: Evanston, Long Grove, Machesney Park (North Park Fire Protection District), Momence
  • Oct. 7 & 8: Western Springs
  • Oct. 9: Downers Grove, Palos Hills (Moraine Valley Community College – Fire Science Program), Urbana (Carroll Fire Protection District)
  • Oct. 12: Alsip, Elgin, Ingleside (Fox Lake Fire Protection District), Hinsdale, Rolling Meadows, Tinley Park, Westchester
  • Oct. 13: Homewood
  • Oct. 14: Crest Hill
  • Oct. 18: Stickney Township, Hampshire
  • Oct. 19: Round Lake
  • Oct. 26: Orland Park
Further research indicates that the Northern Illinois Fire Inspectors Association, Illinois Fire Inspectors Association, Lake County Fire Chiefs Association/Gurnee Fire Department, nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and numerous fire departments/fire protection districts will be contributing to the ignition of these intentionally set fires. It is rumored that the fires will be started in fire sprinkler demonstration trailers as well as side-by-side demonstration units, which are furnished similarly to homes and compare fires with and without fire sprinklers. It is suspected that all these fires are tied to national Fire Prevention Week (FPW), which extends from October 6th through the 12th, and Fire Prevention Month. Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association, this year’s FPW theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” “These live fire demonstrations are an essential element in fire safety education for the public, elected officials and firefighters. Three important concepts are displayed: the speed of fire growth, the fast operation of a quick-response fire sprinkler, and the comparison of a fire’s timeline to a typical fire department response,” says NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia. “Prior to these upcoming demonstrations, we’ve already completed nearly 50 fire sprinkler demonstrations statewide this year.” For additional details about the upcoming fires in these communities and at which addresses and times they will occur, please visit each municipality’s or fire department’s website or contact NIFSAB at (708) 403- 4468.]]>

2013-10-03T19:52:51-06:00October 3rd, 2013|0 Comments