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Fire Sprinkler System Saves North Riverside Park Mall from Fire Leading into Important Holiday Shopping Season

Early in the morning on November 12, the fire sprinkler system at the North Riverside Park Mall in North Riverside contained a fire at the Carson Pirie Scott loading dock until fire crews arrived and fully extinguished the fire. The fire, which appears to have begun in merchandise racks stored on the loading dock, was kept from spreading due to the quick response of fire sprinklers. Although it was not clear whether Carson Pirie...
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Northwest Side Apartment Fire Fatality Provides Glaring Evidence of Deficiency in Chicago’s Multifamily Building Codes

On Sunday, November 9, a fire killed a 10-year-old boy and injured 11 other individuals as it ripped through a four-story apartment building at 5727 North Kimball Avenue in the northwest side neighborhood of Hollywood Park in Chicago. Although smoke alarms alerted residents, no fire sprinklers were present in the building to allow safe routes of escape, forcing some residents to jump from their units. Depending on occupant load, buildings up to 79 feet...
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Bartlett FPD Hosts Illinois’ 500th Fire Sprinkler Demonstration

Bartlett FPD Hosts Illinois’ 500th Fire Sprinkler Demonstration

On Saturday, October 25, the Bartlett Fire Protection District hosted Illinois’ 500th fire sprinkler demonstration using the side-by-side concept. Hundreds of attendees viewed the demonstration at the fire district’s Fire Prevention Month open house. The side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstration concept involves two similarly furnished rooms — one protected with a fire sprinkler and the other unprotected. Attendees were able to experience the quick response of fire sprinklers versus the non-sprinklered fire, which rapidly grew...
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Fire Sprinklers Avert Fire in Chicago’s Historic University Club High-Rise Building

On October 15, a fire in the historic University Club high-rise building in the Chicago Loop neighborhood was controlled by the building’s fire sprinkler system before fire crews arrived on scene. Two fire sprinklers prevented the fire from spreading beyond its area of origin in a second-floor meeting room. “Thanks to the quick response of the fire sprinkler system, no one was hurt or injured in the fire and businesses were able to quickly...
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Fires to be Set Throughout Chicagoland for Fire Prevention Week

During Fire Prevention Week, which extends from October 5-11, several Chicagoland fire departments are stepping up their education efforts with live fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations that will be open to the public. The demonstrations will showcase the tremendous speed of typical home fires and their potential for deadly destruction in relation to a typical fire department response timeline. More importantly, they will illustrate the vital importance of home fire sprinkler technology that can...
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Without Fire Sprinklers, Aurora Air Traffic Control Center Fire Could Have Been Worse

The fire that was intentionally set by a contractor in the basement at the FAA air traffic control center in Aurora on the morning of September 26 was fortunately controlled by the building’s fire sprinkler system before it was able to spread to the rest of the building. “Had fire sprinklers not been present, the fire could have become devastating, causing greater injuries and possibly deaths,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit...
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New Video Educates Real Estate Agents About Home Fire Sprinklers


The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) recently developed a new video to educate real estate agents about selling homes protected with fire sprinklers. The video features HFSC spokesperson Tom Clark and REALTOR® Litsa Lekatsos, who lives in a home protected with fire sprinklers in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and markets fire sprinkler-protected homes to consumers. The video teaches real estate agents about how home fire sprinklers work and points out selling points and benefits related...
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Riverdale Mayor: Trust Home Fire Sprinkler Recommendations in Model Codes

The Riverdale Village Board and Fire Chief Robert Scharnhorst.

  The Village of Riverdale recently became one of nearly 100 fire-safe communities in Illinois where fire sprinklers are required in new construction single-family homes. The Village Board enacted the requirement through its adoption of the International Code Council‘s 2012 International Residential Code. “Along with Blue Island, which passed a home fire sprinkler requirement in 2012, Riverdale is among the first communities in Chicago’s south suburbs to recognize the importance of protecting residents in...
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NFPA President James Shannon Retires

NFPA President James Shannon (top) will be succeeded by Jim Pauley (bottom).

This July, long-time National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) President James M. Shannon retired from his position after an incredibly successful career. Shannon served as the NFPA president since 2002, but had been with the organization for 23 years total. He joined NFPA as vice president and general counsel in 1991 after previously serving as a member of Congress representing Massachusetts and as Massachusetts Attorney General. Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire...
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Bob Buhs Retires from Illinois Fire Chiefs Association

Bob Buhs

After 11 years of serving as the executive director of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA), Bob Buhs stepped down from his position effective August 1. Buhs has served on the organization since 1988 having held various executive board positions including two years as president of the board. “Former IFCA Executive Director Jerry Burke brought the association up to a more professional level, but Bob took it from there and elevated it to a...
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Fire Sprinkler Ordinances: An Important Lesson in Grassroots Efforts

Courtesy of NFPA’s “Fire Sprinkler Initiative” blog: This may come as a surprise to fire sprinkler opponents, but the website Grassroots Change has named the home fire sprinkler movement “one of the most successful public safety efforts” in America within the past three decades. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health, this grassroots movement has successfully promoted more than 360 local ordinances mandating fire sprinklers in all new residential construction,...
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New Study Shows Homeowners Prefer Homes Protected with Fire Sprinklers


In a new national Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), 74% of U.S. homeowners said they would be more likely to buy a home with fire sprinklers than one without. Seven in 10 said a sprinklered house has more value and nearly 8 in 10 (78%) said fire sprinklers provide the ultimate protection for residents. Updating the national benchmark study previously commissioned by HFSC, this 2014...
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Successful Activations (April-August 2014 Edition)

Successful Activations (April-August 2014 Edition)

Download a sprinkler save report to record your fire department’s latest successful fire sprinkler activations.   June 2014   Grimm Metal Fabricators Lombard Fire Department The fire sprinkler system in the building controlled an early morning fire in the rear portion of the warehouse. No one was in the building at the time. Damage to the building and its contents was only about $10,000. “Basically the sprinkler system kept it in check,” said Assistant...
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Illinois Burn Prevention Golf Outing Raises More Than $84,000 for Charities


More than $84,000 was raised for burn-injury survivors at the Illinois Burn Prevention Association’s (IBPA) 19th Annual Burn Prevention Golf Invitational on June 3rd at Willow Crest Golf Club at the Oak Brook Hills Resort in Oak Brook. One hundred and thirty-four golfers participated in the event. Money raised from the event was donated to the following organizations: $20,000 to Illinois Fire Safety Alliance’s “Camp I Am Me” camp for burn-injured children (accepted by...
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Call for Nominations: “Bringing Safety Home” Award


The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and the National Fire Protection Association‘s (NFPA) Fire Sprinkler Initiative are teaming up with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) to present a national award that recognizes the outstanding local efforts of a fire chief who has worked to increase the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems in his or her service area. HFSC and NFPA will jointly present the “Bringing Safety Home” Award during the IAFC’s...
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Mokena Fire Deaths Highlight Recent Omission of Home Fire Sprinklers from Will County Building Code


In the early morning on June 11, a fire tore through a home in an unincorporated area of southwest suburban Mokena, killing an elderly couple before they were able to escape their home. In addition, a Mokena police officer was treated for smoke inhalation after trying to rescue the occupants. Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, says the elderly victims fell in the high-risk category for fire...
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Fire Sprinklers Prove Their Lifesaving Value in Chicago Area High-Rise Fires

A single fire sprinkler prevented major damage from a fire in a Hinsdale high-rise building.

On Wednesday, May 7, a single fire sprinkler extinguished a kitchen fire in the Spinning Wheel Apartments high-rise building in Hinsdale. The fire occurred on the sixth floor of the 17-story building when a frying pan was left on the stove while the stove was left in the “on” position. According to Tim McElroy, assistant chief of the Hinsdale Fire Department, the fire sprinkler system allowed the woman and young child to escape safely...
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Gregg Huennekens Receives 2014 Golden Sprinkler Award from NFSA


Gregg Huennekens, CEO of USA Fire Protection, Lake Forest, received the Golden Sprinkler Award, the highest honor awarded by the National Fire Sprinkler Association at its Annual Meeting in May. The Golden Sprinkler Award recognizes individuals for their dedication to NFSA and the entire fire sprinkler industry. Huennekens has been involved with the NFSA for more than 25 years, participating on the board of directors at every level including two terms as chair. For...
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Fire Sprinkler Prevents Significant Damage from Automobile Fire at Chicago High-Rise


Early in the morning on May 8, the Chicago Fire Department reported that a fire sprinkler system in the Esplanade Apartments high-rise at 900 N. Lake Shore Drive activated to contain an automobile fire in a basement parking garage. Smoke was able to reach its way into the high-rise building above due to a ventilation shaft, however, Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, says the conditions could...
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October 9: Illinois Fire Safety Alliance’s Fire Prevention Week Awards Luncheon


Attend the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance‘s (IFSA) Fire Prevention Week awards luncheon from 10am-1:30pm on October 9 at Bobak’s Signature Events in Woodridge. Members of the fire service from throughout the state and other fire safety advocates will be in attendance. Keynote speaker John Raymond, survivor of the Our Lady of the Angels school fire of 1958, will speak about the events that occurred on the day of the fire that went down in...
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NIFSAB’s Tom Lia Now Blogging for NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative


Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), is now a contributing blogger for the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative. Lia will regularly post about the challenges and successes he experiences in Illinois. Here’s an excerpt of Tom’s first blog post: When I left the Orland Fire Protection District to take on a new endeavor at NIFSAB, there was no job description for me. In its meager beginnings, NIFSAB served...
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A Tale of Two Motel Fires

On March 21, 2014, a fire at the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Peru, Illinois, was caused by an air conditioning/heating unit shorting out in one of the rooms. Thanks to the successful activation of the motel’s fire sprinkler system, the fire was contained to the room of origin. The quick response of the fire sprinkler system helped avert a potential catastrophe and no one was injured. The fire sprinkler system at the...
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Building Safety Month Focuses on Fire Sprinkler Protection


This May, jurisdictions across the United States will celebrate advances in constructing safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient buildings and homes as part of the International Code Council‘s (ICC) national Building Safety Month. For the last 34 years, the Building Safety Month campaign has focused on improving public safety by increasing awareness about how building codes and code officials improve and protect the places where we live, learn, work, worship and play. The campaign has...
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NFSA Names Bob Tinucci as New Illinois Regional Manager

Bob Tinucci

Bob Tinucci accepted the position of Illinois Regional Manager for the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) effective October 1, 2013. As of November, Tinucci fully completed the transition from fire chief at the Roselle Fire Department to his new NFSA position. Tinucci began his over 38-year fire protection career in 1974 as a firefighter with the Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District. Over the years, Tinucci worked his way up through the ranks to become Fire...
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Illinois Fire and Building Officials Meet to Strengthen Commitment to Home Fire Sprinkler Protection


Nearly 26 years since the Village of Long Grove enacted fire sprinkler requirements for new construction homes, Illinois now has 92 communities with such requirements. Many of those communities’ officials attended a special meeting at Lewis University’s Oak Brook campus this February. Local fire and building officials discussed their home fire sprinkler requirements and shared information about why those requirements play an important role in protecting their citizens and firefighters. They also heard from...
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