Fire Sprinkler Saves Resident’s Life

Fire Sprinkler Saves Resident’s Life

Victim was smoking while using oxygen


SAINT PAUL – At 5:33 a.m. today, Saint Paul Firefighters were called to an apartment building in the 600 block of W. Maryland Ave. because the fire alarm was sounding, possibly due to a kitchen fire.  When firefighters arrived they found a small fire in an upholstered recliner that was being controlled by one fire sprinkler that activated in one of the apartments.  The lone occupant of the apartment was man in his 50’s who is confined to a wheelchair and was found sitting in his wheel chair right next to the chair that was on fire.  He could not escape by himself so firefighters rescued him, but not after he suffered mild smoke inhalation.  He was treated at the scene and transported to a hospital by fire department Paramedics.  Firefighters were able to quickly put out the remaining fire and control the fire sprinkler.

The resident was smoking while using oxygen.  He had dozed off when the oxygen tubing caught fire and spread to the recliner.  “Without sprinklers the occupant was not mobile and most likely have perished,” explains Saint Paul Fire Investigator Jamie Novak who investigated the cause and origin of the fire.  Smoke alarms were sounding but he could not escape the apartment.  Because the victim was so close to the fire and unable to escape by himself, he certainly would have suffered more serious injury or even death if not for the fire sprinklers controlling the fire until firefighters arrived to rescue him and put out the remaining fire.



Fire Sprinkler Saves Resident's Life

One fire sprinkler confined this potentially deadly fire to one side of a burning recliner.

Fire sprinklers are 96% successful in controlling or even extinguishing a fire with just one or two sprinklers going off.  There has never been a multiple loss of life in a fire in a building protected by automatic fire sprinklers.  They’re the best fire protection you can have.  Each sprinkler is a firefighter just waiting to leap into action.  Only the sprinklers closest to the fire go off, not all of them at one time like you see in the movies.  Fire sprinklers are “green”, too.  They use far less water than manual firefighting with fire hoses and they control or extinguish the fire so quickly that they drastically reduce air and water pollution.

Nationally, 83% of fire deaths happen in the residence where people feel they are safest but where they are actually most vulnerable to being injured or killed in a fire.  In Saint Paul, that figure rises to 100%.  Inexpensive fire sprinklers are available for homes as well as apartments.  They add less than 1% to the cost of building a new home and they save money on insurance premiums.  A recent national Harris Poll survey revealed that 74% of U.S. homeowners would be more likely to buy a home with fire sprinklers than one without.  Today, no new home or apartment should be built without life-saving, inexpensive, residential fire sprinklers.  For more information about the value and effectiveness of fire sprinklers please visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition at

Check out this dramatic six-minute video produced by the City of Saint Paul that clearly explains and demonstrates the efficiency and effectiveness of residential fire sprinklers:

Other helpful links:

Fire sprinklers can save a lot of lives and property.