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Wilmington Fire Protection District Staff Protected by Fire Sprinklers

Originally constructed in 1990, the firehouse for the Wilmington Fire Protection District was built with a narrow budget. The exterior of the L-shaped building was clad in a metal shell and the interior was completed by the fire district’s membership. Protecting the firehouse with a fire sprinkler system was not even a consideration at the time.

However, in recent years members of the fire district decided fire sprinklers would serve an integral role in protecting the structure itself, the firefighting apparatuses and, more importantly, the fire district staff. According to Fire Chief Tim Zlomie, when it came time to approve a fire sprinkler retrofit in the budget, it was met with little resistance since the safety of staff and equipment is a priority at the fire district.

In October 2009, Advanced Fire Protection of Manhattan began the fire sprinkler retrofitting process. Fire sprinklers were installed to protect the entire structure, which contains apparatus bays, administrative offices, a kitchen and meeting rooms on the main level, as well as living quarters on the second level.

A specific area in the firehouse was designated for the fire sprinkler contractors to lay their materials. But other than that, Zlomie says, “It wasn’t much of a hassle to shuffle equipment and apparatus out of a given area they were working on at the time. They did a great job working with us and making sure the everyday operations of the firehouse were not disturbed.”

The only minor difficulty was getting the piping installed on the second level of the building. Otherwise, installing the fire sprinklers was made relatively easy since the apparatus bay ceilings are open and the remainder of the first level contains dropped ceilings.

By February 2010, the installation of the fire sprinkler system at the Wilmington Fire Protection District was complete and fire officials were happy to see the results.

“The new fire sprinkler system gives us peace of mind,” says Zlomie. “The project was a great opportunity to improve the safety of our staff and protect the investments we have made in our apparatuses.”

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