The City of Waukesha understands the life- and property-saving benefits of fire sprinklers. Waukesha adopted an ordinance in 2002 that requires all new residential buildings with three or more units to include sprinkler systems.

The Waukesha Fire Department effectively used photos and facts from two similar fires in multi-family apartment buildings to show the benefits of fire sprinklers. Both fires were caused by smoking material. The first occurred in March in a building protected with fire sprinklers. The second fire occurred last month in a building without fire sprinklers.

The photos show the dramatic difference, as the sprinklers prevented the fire from spreading. Occupants were allowed back into their apartments in just a few hours. The fire extinguished by a fire sprinkler resulted in $8,000 in damages compared to the fire without sprinklers that caused between $500,000 to $750,000 in damages. Occupants in the fire without sprinklers will be displaced for months.

The Waukesha Freeman used the photos and information (December 15, 2017) to report that sprinklers prevented over $1M in damages. The article included quotes from Joseph Hoffman, Assistant Chief, and Brian Charlesworth, Fire Marshal, both with the Waukesha Fire Department. Martin King, NFSA’s Wisconsin State Coordinator, was also quoted.

Waukesha apartment fire

Residents will be displaced for months from this Waukesha apartment building.

King pointed out that the state has backpedaled when it comes to requiring fire sprinklers in apartments buildings because of the added cost.

Waukesha Rivercrest Apartments: not protected with fire sprinklersOne occupant can be safe, while their neighbor may not be, like the case with improper smoking material. If the building is not protected with fire sprinklers, the costs go beyond the loss of property. Occupants and firefighters are at risk, occupants are displaced and often forced to rebuild their lives.

View the article “Fire officials: Sprinkler systems curb destruction in blazing apartments” here.