New Lenox Fire Inspector Builds One of First Sprinklered Homes in Manhattan Fire Protection District

IMG_3944-manhattan-demo-houseOn May 8, firefighters and building and elected officials gathered at 24113 South Clover Court in unincorporated Manhattan to see one of the first fire sprinkler-protected homes in the Manhattan Fire Protection District. The nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) hosted an open house at the new home of New Lenox Fire Inspector Dennis Randolph and his wife, Melinda, to educate local officials about the lifesaving value of home fire sprinklers.

 

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NIFSAB's Tom Lia gives a tour of the home and points out the components of the fire sprinkler system, such as sidewall sprinklers on the second floor. NIFSAB’s Tom Lia gives a tour of the home and points out the components of the fire sprinkler system, such as sidewall sprinklers on the second floor (top photo).

Attendees took tours of the new home under construction to see what a fire sprinkler system looks like behind the walls before drywall is installed. They were able to see the various pieces of the system beyond the sprinklers themselves, including the system’s water supply tank and pump since there is no municipal water supply. NIFSAB’s Tom Lia also conducted a live fire demonstration in a fire sprinkler demonstration trailer. A fire was lit in a wastebasket and crawled up a curtain before a single fire sprinkler was activated by the heat and quickly extinguished it.

A ceremony was held to recognize those involved with the project, including homeowners Dennis and Belinda Randolph; Brian Rigsby of Rigsby Builders; and the fire sprinkler contractor, Bill Sutterlin of Advanced Fire Protection. Tom Lia also recognized Manhattan Fire Chief Dan Forsythe and the fire district for its decision to require fire sprinklers in new construction homes in unincorporated areas of the district beginning in 2012. The ordinance makes the fire district one of nearly 100 jurisdictions in Illinois with such requirements.

 

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During a recognition ceremony, the Randolph's received information about their fire sprinkler system (top photo), while the Manhattan Fire Protection District  and Chief Dan Forsythe were recognized for the district's fire sprinkler ordinance (bottom photo). During a recognition ceremony, the Randolph’s received information about their fire sprinkler system (top photo), while the Manhattan Fire Protection District and Chief Dan Forsythe were recognized for the district’s fire sprinkler ordinance (bottom photo).

The Randolphs’ home fire sprinkler installation comes just one year after the Will County Land Use & Development Committee voted to amend home fire sprinkler requirements out of its code for other unincorporated parts of the county. But Chief Forsythe stands strong behind his belief in the lifesaving value of fire sprinklers and has never looked back after passing the fire district’s home fire sprinkler ordinance.

“Some jurisdictions may choose not to require fire sprinklers at all, while others only require fire sprinklers in homes over a certain, large square footage. My duty as a fire chief is to protect the residents in my district in the best way possible. My staff and I knew it was important to protect all new homes in unincorporated Manhattan, regardless of size, when we created our home fire sprinkler ordinance,” says Chief Forsythe.

As a fire official in New Lenox, homeowner Dennis Randolph also understands the importance of protecting his family with fire sprinklers. It will give them the extra time they need to escape in case of a fire.

Attendees gather for a live fire sprinkler demonstration at the open house.

Attendees gather for a live fire sprinkler demonstration at the open house.

“The fire suppression system will give me great piece of mind for the safety of my family while I’m not there, as well as when I am there. It’s 24/7 protection,” states Randolph. “As a firefighter, I’ve seen the damage and the loss that can happen due to a fire, I can’t allow that to happen when there is such an easy method to protect my family and home. The cost of the system is small compared to the savings we will gain in safety and piece of mind. I support residential fire sprinkler systems one hundred percent.”

 

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