MADISON, WI- (January 21, 2019) – An automatic fire sprinkler is credited for quickly extinguishing a fire that broke out in the basement of Engineering Hall at the UW-Madison campus on Monday, January 21st.

The Fire Department was dispatched to investigate a fire alarm activation in the building. A couple of students told firefighters perhaps their welding project in a shop room on the 10th floor was to blame for the activation, but the alarm system’s messaging panel indicated otherwise.

Upon discovering smoke on the 3rd and 4th floors, firefighters summoned a full structure fire response to the building, sending additional crews to assist the investigation and in locating the source of the smoke. Firefighters quickly determined the smoke was not coming from these areas, even though a sensor on the 4th floor is what triggered the fire alarm.

A Fire Captain on scene went to the basement, where he found an activated fire sprinkler dousing a large oven-like apparatus that had burned materials inside it. The automatic sprinkler had already knocked down the fire, and firefighters applied additional water to cool down remaining hot spots.

Automatic fire sprinklers are effective, life-saving tools that can catch a fire well before firefighters are summoned to a scene. In this case, a fire broke out without anyone’s awareness and could have grown well beyond its point of origin, endangering lives and property, if not for the automatic activation of a fire sprinkler.

Source: Public Information Officer, City of Madison Fire Department