March 10, 2008 – Massachusetts recently reached a major milestone in fire safety. In response to the 2003 Station Nightclub fire, MA passed comprehensive fire safety legislation that we call the MA Fire Safety Act. One of its many provisions was requiring certain bars and nightclubs to install fire sprinklers within three years.
The deadline for installation was Nov 15, 2007. We have just heard about what we consider to be the first “save” from this law in Bellingham, MA. While it did not save any lives, I believe the bar owner would not have been able to open for business the same day of an unwitnessed fire without sprinklers. Chief Ranieri sent us the following repot.
“My purpose for sending this email is to report sprinkler activation to you. One of the local bars (Patriot’s Bar and Grille) had just installed and placed into service after the FD inspection their required sprinkler system. It went into service on 11/15. On the morning of 12/26 we received a central station alarm for the facility.
Upon arrival a moderate smoke condition was encountered. Investigation revealed a sprinkler activation which suppressed a fire in the kitchen. There was no one in the building at the time as they had not opened. It appears that there was an electrical fire which burned through the wall in the kitchen and the drop fire ignited several bags and boxes on the floor. One head activated and controlled the fire limiting what could have been a major loss.
The place reopened after cleaning up that afternoon. I guess it is just another case in point where sprinkler systems if properly designed, installed and maintained do work. Although the intent of the sprinkler law was for life safety protection of the occupants, in this case it saved the business from a major loss since the owner reportedly does not have contents insurance.
I just wanted to let you know about the success story. Keep up the good work and effort to protect the firefighters and citizens of the Commonwealth.”