Firefighters rolled out to a structure fire Sunday morning at a retail store that was extinguished by the time they arrived, thanks to an internal sprinkler system. “Sprinklers for us are life savers and building savers both,” St. George Fire Battalion Chief Darren Imlay said. Firefighters responded to a fire alarm at TJ Maxx, 42 S. River Road, around 6:20 a.m., Imlay said.
When they arrived on scene the firefighters saw some light white smoke inside the building. Lights and alarms attached to a fire alarm were going off at the time and water was on the floor, signifying the sprinklers had gone off. The sprinklers had extinguished the fire before they arrived, Imlay said, leaving it to firefighters to reset the sprinkler system and alarm, as well as air out the building.
The fire had started in an employee break room by a large vending machine. While sprinklers and alarms going off in commercial buildings is nothing new (sprinkler systems for fire suppression are required by standards set by the National Fire Protection Association), Imlay was nonetheless glad they were in play in this instance.
“For us, that could have been a big, big fire,” he said, “but because it was a sprinklered building … the sprinklers activated and kept the building from burning down. Plus the alarm activated and we were notified through the alarm company, so we had a quick response there.” Though sprinklers systems for fire suppression may not be as common in residential units as they are in commercial ones, residents can still invest in smoke detectors (which can be acquired for free in some instances) and alarm systems that can alert police, fire and medical personnel to a potential emergency.
The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire. A call into TJ Maxx’s St. George location Tuesday was answered by a recorded message stating the St. George store is currently closed for renovations and will have a grand reopening soon. This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders who were at the scene and may not contain the full scope of findings.