Ferndale, MI – Fire in 68-unit apartment building for elderly, disabled, and low income residents extinguished by sprinkler system

At about 8:30 pm last Monday night some residents of Withington West apartments were evacuated due to a fire that started in a fourth floor apartment.  Withington West is a 68-unit property of the Ferndale Housing Commission. It is home to elderly, disabled and low income residents. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The fire started on a stove, by a resident cooking chicken. Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan further explained that walls in the building are made of concrete, so fire remain contained. “The fire protection system did exactly what it was designed to do, enough heat was released to set of the sprinkler head in the kitchen, effectively extinguishing the fire. The fire pump came on when the head opened, the water pressure dropped, the fire pump made up the difference,” he said. He confirmed there were no injuries. He also clarified that only apartments immediately around that where the fire started were evacuated.

Residents were permitted back into the building once the fire was extinguished, and restoration crews were on the scene as of 10pm working to clean up water from the sprinkler system and fire department. The Fire Marshall was also on hand to conduct the investigation.

Housing Director Heather VanPoucker confirmed there were no injuries and that efforts to protect residents went smoothly. “Fire suppression worked exactly as intended.” VanPoucker said. “The fire department response was excellent as always.

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