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Fatal High-Rise Fire Occurred in Building That Passed Chicago’s Life Safety Evaluation

Late Saturday night, a 70-year-old man was killed in a fire at the unsprinklered, 21-story residential high-rise located at 300 South Damen in Chicago. The fire occurred while the man, who was using an oxygen tank, was in bed in his unit on the 11th floor of West Point Plaza. Other residents on the floor were displaced due to the fire. According to the city of Chicago’s Data Portal website, the high-rise building was...
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Fire in John Hancock Center Condo Shows Stark Contrast in Fire Protection Between Residential and Commercial Occupancies

On the night of February 26, a fire occurred in an unsprinklered condo on the 87th floor of the John Hancock Center high-rise in Chicago. Chicago code does not require the condo units to have fire sprinklers even though the commercial occupancies within the same high-rise must be protected with fire sprinklers. “Fortunately, no one was injured. But why is more value placed on the lives of the individuals working in the high-rise than...
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Fire in Chicago’s Erie on the Park High-Rise Contained by Fire Sprinkler System

On the night of February 23, a fire was contained to a single condo unit by a fire sprinkler system on the 14th floor of the Erie on the Park high-rise in Chicago. The information was obtained through an email sent to the residents by the property manager of the 24-story, 125-unit condo building at 510 West Erie Street. The building was required by the city to install fire sprinklers when it was completed...
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Park Ridge Home and Homeowners Saved by Fire Sprinkler System

On the morning of February 21, two fire sprinklers quickly extinguished a flash fire at a single-family home in Park Ridge. According to Park Ridge Fire Marshal Kevin Plach, the home’s fire sprinkler system prevented an estimated $80,000 in property damage. “There were 105 residential fire deaths in Illinois in 2014, and there already have been 14 residential fire deaths this year. Fortunately, this fire will not add to that list thanks to the...
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Fire Sprinkler Controls Fire at Skilled Nursing Facility in Des Plaines, Proving Value of Federal Rule

This morning, a single fire sprinkler controlled a mattress fire at Ballard Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing facility at 9300 Ballard Road in Des Plaines, until North Maine Fire Protection District crews provided final extinguishment. The fire sprinkler system contained the fire to a single room on the second floor and prevented major damage and possible deaths, thereby validating the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to require fire sprinklers in all new...
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Illinois Residential Fire Deaths Increased in 2014; Fire Safety Advocates Say Fire Sprinklers Needed in New Homes

Illinois Residential Fire Deaths Increased in 2014; Fire Safety Advocates Say Fire Sprinklers Needed in New Homes

Last year, Illinois experienced 104 civilian residential fire deaths. According to the United States Fire Administration, this was an increase of over 9 percent from both 2012 and 2013. Also, 2015 is off to a poor start with eight deaths to date. Fire safety advocates say there’s already a solution to preventing residential fire deaths. “Our state continues to average 100 civilian fire deaths each year, but the reality is that fire sprinklers can...
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Illinois Sprinkler Advocate Featured in NFPA Journal

Illinois Sprinkler Advocate Featured in NFPA Journal

The November/December issue of NFPA Journal features an article titled, “Movers, Shakers, Advocates.” It describes the home fire sprinkler advocacy efforts of four advocates. One of those advocates is Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board Executive Director Tom Lia. “A tide of support for home fire sprinklers is spreading across the United States, initiated by a growing number of sprinkler advocates from a range of backgrounds. Fire service members, burn survivors, municipal water officials...
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New & Improved Advocacy Section on NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative Website

New & Improved Advocacy Section on NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative Website

The new “Advocacy Tools” section on the National Fire Protection Association‘s (NFPA) “Fire Sprinkler Initiative” website is now the go-to place for free materials and resources that help make an effective case for home fire sprinklers. This section is where you will find an array of shareable videos, case studies, and fact sheets that underscore fire at its worst and sprinklers at their best. Also worth noting in this section is the new “Advocacy...
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Research: Today’s Homes Burning Faster

Research: Today’s Homes Burning Faster

The latest fire tests and research from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) indicate that home fires are burning faster and hotter than fires of the past — a growing issue for responding firefighters. While new homes have many advantages, they also present many unique fire hazards. According to the research, lightweight materials that are present in newer homes, such as engineered floor systems, along with open construction...
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Jan. 23: Code Officials Guide to Medical Cannabis Facilities

Jan. 23: Code Officials Guide to Medical Cannabis Facilities


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Register Now: Illinois Fire Inspectors Association Spring Conference

Register Now: Illinois Fire Inspectors Association Spring Conference

The Illinois Fire Inspectors Association (IFIA) will host its first Annual Joint Spring Conference from April 29-May 1, 2015. The conference will include education classes for both Codes & Standards and Fire & Life Safety. The conference combines the IFIA’s two most successful programs — the Fall Safety Seminar and the Public Fire & Life Safety Conference — and teams with the Fire Investigators Strike Force and the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance to offer...
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Successful Activations (January 2015 Edition)

Successful Activations (January 2015 Edition)

Download a sprinkler save report to record your fire department’s latest successful fire sprinkler activations.   December 2014   Mario Tricoci Chicago Fire Department The fire sprinkler system contained a fire in a dryer at Mario Tricoci Salon & Day Spa on 900 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The upscale salon is located in the 900 North Michigan Shops building. “Had there been no fire sprinkler system to stop the fire as it grew,...
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Preventing Fire Sprinkler System Freeze-Ups During Wintry Weather

Click on image for larger view

Freezing temperatures have settled into Illinois. Fire prevention bureaus and building departments can save their communities money in repairs and water damage by reminding local residents and businesses to simply check to be sure their fire sprinkler systems are protected for the colder weather temperatures, especially below freezing. The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board recommends an effective freeze-up prevention program that includes the following elements: Conduct a physical inspection of the facility, looking...
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Recent Fires in Chicago High-Rises Draw Attention to City’s High-Rise Life Safety Evaluation Deadline

On the evening of December 20, a single fire sprinkler controlled a stove grease fire on the 23rd floor of the Adler Place residential high-rise on Chicago’s Near South Side. The condo owner failed to extinguish the fire, but the fire sprinkler quickly responded to prevent the fire from spreading. A very different result occurred on December 28 in an unsprinklered Old Town residential high-rise. An accidental furnace fire damaged the 19th floor of...
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Sprinklers Could Have Prevented Death & Injuries in Eight-Story Senior Living Center

On the night of December 11, a fire killed a 51-year-old, wheelchair-bound male and injured two females in an eight-story senior living building at 737 East 69th Street in Chicago. “Fire deaths can occur in residential buildings on any floor, not just those higher than eight stories or above the reach of the highest fire department ladders,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. “Fire sprinklers control...
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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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500 Fire Service Personnel Attend Fire Prevention Week Luncheon

500 Fire Service Personnel Attend Fire Prevention Week Luncheon

On October 9, 2014, the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance hosted the 73rd Annual Fire Prevention Week Luncheon to highlight and honor leaders in fire safety and burn prevention in Illinois. More than 500 fire service personnel from around the state attended the event, which coincides with Fire Prevention Week. Various awards were presented to those who had gone above and beyond in fire safety and burn prevention education and causes over the last year....
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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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Shane Ray Named Executive Vice President of NFSA

Shane Ray Named Executive Vice President of NFSA

Shane Ray of Columbia, South Carolina has been named Executive Vice President of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). He began work in mid-July. “I look forward to the opportunities and challenges of this position and am excited to return to the NFSA team,” added Ray. “My passion for fire prevention and a non-typical approach is long standing, and there is no better tool in the fire service toolbox than fire sprinklers. I believe...
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New Video Educates Real Estate Agents About Home Fire Sprinklers

real-estate-agent-video

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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