A sprinkler system helped put out a fire and save county property at the Merrimack County Superior Courthouse in Concord Sunday. The fire is believed to have started in a vending machine on the first floor of the building. A preliminary investigation by the Concord Fire Department, the state fire marshal’s office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined the fire to have been accidental, according to a press release issued yesterday by the state fire marshal’s office.
The Concord Fire Department was called to 163 N. Main St. at 10:13 a.m. after receiving an alert from an automatic fire alarm. Firefighters arrived on scene at 10:18 a.m. to find smoke in the building and an active sprinkler in a room of vending machines. The building was closed and secure at the time of the fire. Fire Marshal J. William Degnan said the sprinkler system “prevented a much larger fire and loss of county property, as well as reduced the danger to firefighters.”
The fire came two days after another one in a similarly unattended public building, in that case owned by the town of Henniker. The Henniker Highway Department garage, which wasn’t outfitted with a sprinkler system, and several town vehicles were destroyed in that fire, with damage estimated to be about $1 million.