Basalt, CO – Sprinkler system douses dumpster fire at mixed-use building

A built-in fire sprinkler system performed exactly as designed Tuesday evening in a mixed residential-commercial building at Willits Town Center, Basalt Deputy Fire Chief Pete Bradshaw said.

A fire ignited shortly after 6 p.m. in an isolated room with a trash dumpster and compactor. Black smoke was billowing out when firefighters arrived, but the sprinkler system was activated before they swung into action. The smoke turned white and water flowed from the room.

“The sprinkler pretty much did its job perfectly,” Bradshaw said.The room is built so that it would take about two hours before the fire could burn through the sheetrock and spread, Bradshaw said.

The residents and customers of the restaurants and shops in the Triangle Park Lofts building had to evacuate for nearly 30 minutes as fire alarms rang out. The building is home to popular restaurants such as Smoke and El Korita.

Bradshaw said 17 firefighters responded, including 12 volunteers, with one engine and one ladder truck.

Fire officers didn’t poke around the garbage to determine the cause. It wouldn’t have been easy to determine since the fire burned for a short time and the pile was thoroughly doused, Bradshaw said.

“It’s the second time we had a fire in that dumpster,” he said, recalling that the first incident was a couple of years ago.

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