Light smoke in the building prompted staff to call 9-1-1 just before 7:30am. First-arriving firefighters concentrated initially on evacuating patrons and locating the cause of the smoke. Soon they found a small fire burning in a mechanical room on the third floor. Fortunately two sprinkler heads were activated, which limited the fire's reach. Firefighters were able to use portable water extinguishers to finish the job and remained on scene to help gym members retrieve belongings and clean up water.
A fire investigator has determined the most probable cause of the fire was the placement of combustibles next to a furnace vent used to remove carbon monoxide and flue gasses. A damage estimate is not available at this time, but the gym will remained closed for two days for additional cleanup.
Though fire sprinkler systems are required in commercial buildings, this morning's fire demonstrates how effective sprinklers can be at limiting property damage and allowing people to escape safely. The water damage from a sprinkler activation is small compared to the ravaging effects of a fire and smoke from a blaze that burns for only a short time. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments use up to 10 times as much water to extinguish a home fire as fire sprinklers would use to extinguish the same fire. See more at www.tvfr.com and www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/resources/fact-sheets/myths-vs-facts.aspx#sthash.7s5AHnZJ.dpuf