On November 18, fire sprinklers controlled and extinguished a fire in a trash compactor room at the Lawson House YMCA at 30 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. The 24-story residential high-rise, which was built in 1934, is the largest single-room occupancy supportive housing facility in the Midwest with nearly 600 apartment units.
“Some of the residents in the low-income building are formerly homeless, so a fire that could potentially displace them again would be devastating. Fire sprinklers saved the day for the hundreds of people that live there,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.
Lia also notes that the fire sprinkler save is a good reminder to Chicago high-rise building owners that the city’s deadline to retrofit high-rises with fire sprinklers by January 1, 2017, is fast approaching.