Rochester, MN – Sprinkler system douses fire at Mayo support facility; No injuries reported

Rochester Fire Department responded to the Mayo Support Center Thursday morning after a piece of machinery that cleans the floor caught fire. “We showed up and they had a smoke haze in the building. The building was investigated and found that in the maintenance area, a piece of maintenance equipment had malfunctioned during charging and caused a small fire, which initiated the sprinkler system, which almost completely extinguished the fire” said Chuck Solseth, the Rochester Fire Department Acting Battalion Chief.

 Initially, one fire engine and the battalion chief car responded to the fire alarm; however, two more engines were called in after the discovery of smoke being produced.  Crews went in with a carbon dioxide extinguisher and put out what the sprinklers couldn’t.

Solseth said this type of fire does not happen very often. “It’s not very common for things to just catch fire while they’re in there charging. It does happen on occasion. But that’s why it’s important that we monitor what’s going on. Pieces of the equipment that you’re charging, if they’re abnormally warm or making any type of odd odors or sounds, may be reason to unplug it and investigate it further,” said Solseth.

Solseth added that when plastic pieces catch fire, like that of the floor cleaning machinery, it can prove to be detrimental. “The plastics create/release chemicals. The smoke itself will have carbon monoxide in it because of the products of combustion. We ventilated the structure out, used our respiratory equipment, so that we could access the area, ventilated it out, and then verified it with air monitors that there was no more hazard for us,” said Solseth.

Employees of the Mayo Support Center were evacuated until around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

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