“Live burn” shows effectiveness of home fire sprinklers

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It doesn’t take long for fire to engulf an entire house, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. To demonstrate how effective fire sprinklers can be in extinguishing a house fire, local fire chiefs held a demonstration outside the Log Cabin in Holyoke Friday morning.

A fire was started in two identical rooms. The first had no sprinkler system, and became engulfed in flames within 49 seconds. The other had a sprinkler system that was set off at 155 degrees. That fire was put out in just 35 seconds.

Holyoke Firefighter Michael Boucher told 22News that the difference is clear.

“We see it all the time, the damage fire causes, and it’s so much less when there is a sprinkler in there. It keeps it in check, it can’t travel, we don’t have to tear the walls apart, we know exactly where it is, it’s easier to find for us. It keeps everybody in the house safe and it keeps us safe going in as well,” Boucher said.

Fire sprinklers have long been associated with commercial buildings and apartments, but their use in single-family homes has been growing. Legislation being considered by state lawmakers would require all new single and two-family homes be equipped with sprinkler systems.

Installing a sprinkler system for a home under construction can cost between $5,000 to $8,000 dollars. It can cost more than that to install a system in an older home.

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