Yuma, Arizona - On Monday, shortly after midnight, a fire was reported on the 5th floor of the San Carlos Hotel, 106 East 1st Street. Arriving Yuma Fire Department personnel found light smoke in the hallway of the 5th floor. Further investigation found there had been a fire in one of the apartments and that it had been extinguished by the fire suppression sprinkler head that had activated. Firefighters confirmed the fire was out and stopped the flow of water from the sprinkler head.
Fire investigators determined the fire was caused by a discarded cigarette. Fire damage was limited to a pile of clothing where the fire originated. YFD personnel remained on scene for several hours to help with clean up and getting residents back into their apartments. Besides the apartment where the fire occurred, there were some apartments affected by water flow. The American Red Cross was called to the scene providing assistance to residents waiting to reoccupy their homes and later provided temporary lodging for the 6 individuals who were not able to return to their apartments until further clean-up could occur.
This is just the latest of 9 sprinkler saves over the last year in Yuma, and the 2nd at the San Carlos Hotel (the previous fire was on July 28th). These sprinkler systems saved millions of dollars in property damage and protected the lives of those in these buildings.
Fire sprinkler systems can keep fires from spreading and can also extinguish them. Fire spreads quickly and can double in size every minute. Even small fires can cause significant damage to property and endanger those nearby. Contrary to many Hollywood portrayals, only sprinkler heads directly exposed to the heat activate, not those in the rest of the room, building, or complex.