A sprinkler system saved a New Kensington business from a potentially devastating blaze after a bin of overheated mop heads spontaneously combusted late Wednesday, according to firefighters. The call came in for an automatic fire alarm at the UniFirst Corp., 1150 Second Ave., about 11:45 p.m. UniFirst is a national company that supplies uniforms and workplace products to businesses.
All five volunteer fire companies from New Kensington responded along with ones from Arnold and Lower Burrell. The building was filled with smoke when New Kensington Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba Jr. arrived on scene. An estimated 100 mop heads had come out of a dryer and were a metal bin where they spontaneously combusted and burned in the bin directly under a sprinkler head, he said. “Thank God that the sprinkler system activated and held the fire in check until the fire departments arrived,” Saliba said. “Sprinkler systems are worth their weight in gold,” he said. Firefighters remained on the scene for two hours to clear a substantial amount of smoke.