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‘Suspicious’ Fire Contained by Sprinkler in St. Paul

St. Paul Firefighters, Mears Park, Minnesota, Downtown St. Paul, Lowertown, Sprinkler Save

St. Paul Fire Dept. Photo

St. Paul Firefighters, Mears Park, Minnesota, Downtown St. Paul, Lowertown, Sprinkler Save

St. Paul Fire Dept. Photo

May 16 – For the second time in a week, a single fire sprinkler doused a fire in a high occupancy building in downtown St. Paul.

Just after 1 a.m., fire crews were dispatched for alarm sounds at Mears Park Place Apartment at 401 Sibley St.

As units went enroute, they were updated that there was smoke on the sixth floor. The eight-story apartment building has 281 units.

Crews ascended to the upper floors and found a heavy smoke condition. They located an upholstered chair that had been burning in the sixth floor lobby.

“One fire sprinkler head had activated and put the fire out,”  St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said.

Crews ventilated the lingering smoke before returning to service.

Zaccard said that the fire caused $10,000 in damage, mainly to the area where the chair was burning in the hallway. No injuries were reported.

The cause is under investigation, but officials says it appears “suspicious.”

Last week, a sprinkler snuffed a kitchen fire on the 11th floor of 20 Exchange St. E.

Maple Grove Fire Destroys 2 School Buses, Damages Others

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Fire destroyed two school buses and damaged several others at a bus company storage facility on Sunday morning in Maple Grove.

A worker on the premises saw smoke coming from the building and called 9-1-1. A second report was received when the sprinkler system activated. The initial dispatch for Maple Grove Stations 2 and 3 went out at 7:07 a.m. to the Osseo-Brooklyn School Bus Company at 11800 95th Avenue North.

While enroute, Maple Grove Lieutenant 32 reported a column of smoke in the distance and ordered a second box to be struck, along with mutual aid from Osseo. Maple Grove Stations 1 and 4 and Osseo were alerted.

Maple Grove Chief 4 arrived and reported heavy smoke coming from several garage doors of a large commercial building.

The one-story building housed offices, maintenance bays and cold weather storage for close to 100 buses, according to Maple Grove Fire Chief Scott Anderson.

The building had two sprinkler systems. A dry system in the cold storage area and a wet system in the administrative and maintenance areas.

First-due Engine 31 connected to the sprinkler system.

Chief 4 was the incident commander, Chief 1 assumed safety and Maple Grove Captain 21, with Osseo Chief 1 took the role of operations.

Crews from Engine 21 and Osseo Tanker 11 used thermal imaging cameras to find the fire. “Heavy smoke had filled the cold storage area creating a maze through the buses, which were parked in lines four or five deep with 20 lines of these buses,” Anderson said. They were parked bumper to bumper, which further hampered their efforts.

They found two buses on fire and while the flames were held by the sprinkler system, the fire continued to burn inside the buses, unaffected by the sprinklers.

Crews stretched 1 3/4-inch hoselines, flowing Class A foam, into the structure and knocked down the fire. Crews opened the overhead doors for ventilation.

“The buses were each plugged in to electrical power for supplemental heaters for the engines,” according to Anderson. “A malfunction of one of these heaters is suspected.”

The fire gutted two buses and several others suffered heat and smoke damage.

Crews from Maple Grove Station 5 covered the city while crews operated at the incident.

  • Assignment: Engines 11, 21, 31 and 41 Ladder 21, Tower 41, Tanker 21, Utility 23, Rescue 41, Chiefs 1 and 4. Mutual aid: Osseo Tanker 11 and Chief 1 and North Memorial EMS