Fire Sprinkler System Prevents Significant Damage in Northwest Rockford Apartment Fire

On the afternoon of July 23, 2015, an electrical fire that ignited a mattress in a single apartment unit at Riverside Apartments in northwest Rockford was quickly controlled by the building’s fire sprinkler system. Fire officials say the quick response of the fire sprinkler system prevented major damage and any injuries or fatalities.

“The fire sprinkler system performed its task with precision and prevented the fire from spreading to other apartment units and causing more damage,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.

Lia notes that the national model codes for multifamily buildings recognize the life- and property-saving benefits of fire sprinklers and have included requirements for them since 2000.

Over 120 communities in Illinois, including Rockford, follow the national model codes for sprinklered multifamily buildings, but some cities such as Chicago still fall behind the national model code recommendations.

“The limited damage and, more importantly, the safe escape of residents, proves that fire sprinklers are important lifesaving devices that make a difference in fires,” states Lia. “Rockford made the right decision to invest in its future by protecting its residents, responding firefighters, and its multifamily buildings with fire sprinklers.”

By following the national model code, Rockford follows a proclamation by U.S. President Barack Obama declaring May as Building Safety Month. It stated, “We are working . . . to ensure neighborhoods across our Nation adopt the most up-to-date building codes and standards that not only help protect individuals and their families, but also support the needs of our cities and towns.”


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