Category Archives: Public Library

Cedar Rapids, IA – Sprinkler system extinguishes fire at public library; No injuries reported

The Cedar Rapids Downtown Public Library is closed until further notice after a fire broke out in a light fixture above the Commons area Wednesday, according to a news release.

The sprinkler system activated and the fire was quickly extinguished. The extent of the fire damage to the building is not yet known, but books and other library materials do not appear to have been damaged by the sprinkler water, the release states.

The building was safely evacuated and no one was injured. The library will remain closed through Thursday, and possibly longer, depending on how much cleanup is necessary.

Hold times and due dates will be extended accordingly.

Kent, WA – Sprinkler system activated for fire at library book drop

The downtown Kent Library closed on Thursday, Dec. 2 after the sprinkler system activated early in the morning when something in the book drop caught fire.

“The incident is currently under investigation,” said Sarah Thomas, King County Library System public relations specialist, in a Thursday afternoon email. “It will remain closed today (Thursday). We are unable to give a reopening date at this time.”

The Kent Library is at 212 Second Ave. N.

Puget Sound Fire responded to a sprinkler water flow alarm just before 6 a.m. Thursday, said Pat Pawlak, Puget Sound Fire spokesman.

“Firefighters arrived and found that that had been a fire in the book drop,” Pawlak said. “A single sprinkler head activated and extinguished the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

People looking to use a local library can visit the Kent Panther Lake Library, 20500 108th Ave. SE, which also is part of the King County Library System.

Charlevoix, MI – Fire sprinklers contain electrical fire on second floor of Library

Fire suppression sprinklers at the Charlevoix Public Library played a key part in containing an electrical fire on the building’s second floor early Saturday, but did cause water damage on both the library’s upper and lower levels.

The library remained closed through Monday for cleanup following the fire, and reopened with regular operating hours on Tuesday.

Charlevoix Township Fire Department Fire Chief Dan Thorp said that if it was not for the library’s sprinkler system — and given the time of day that it started — “the entire library could have burned down and they would probably have had to build a whole new library.”

“It would have been a good half-hour before anyone even noticed it burning. It is an old building with all the books — it would have had to be rebuilt,” Thorp said.

Thorp commended the library for its maintenance of fire suppression equipment, noting that “the library has done an outstanding job in keeping their equipment up to date.”

The fire chief said his department got called to the library for a fire alarm activation at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

“We were there until about 1:40 a.m.,” he said.

Thorp added, “By the time we got there and got into the building we heard water running and saw smoke that was coming out the front door.”

The fire chief said the sprinkler system had already put the fire out by the time firefighters entered the building.

“As we investigated, we saw that on the second floor in the director’s office area they had two humidifiers and the one on the lower level, powered by electricity, had some malfunction that we are not quite clear of,” said Thorp. “That malfunction caught on fire and there was a sprinkler head in that room which then was activated and put the fire out.

“The fire department did not have to spray any water to put out the fire.”

When firefighters walked into the building, only the sprinklers in the mechanical closet in the director’s office on the second floor were activated.

Thorp said, “Wherever the fire is, it reaches a certain temperature and sets the sprinklers off in that location.”

Charlevoix library director Ryan Deery said none of the technology or book collections were damaged. The only fire damage occurred in the maintenance closet and water damage occurred in the hallways on the first and second floors, said Deery, also stating about an inch of water flooded both floors in those areas.

Deery said clean-up company Serv Pro was on scene immediately the following morning and set up dehumidifies, heaters and other equipment which ran all day Saturday, Sunday  and Monday.

“Most of the items do not need to be replaced.” said Deery.  However, “some of the walls may still have water in them”.  Serv Pro will be assessing the scene on Feb. 19 to determine if further steps need to be taken to rid the walls of moisture. 

On Facebook, the library noted that Servpro was helping with the fire follow-up, and indicated: “We are confident that all the collections are safe and did not sustain any damage.”

A Sunday post on the library’s Facebook page read, “Thanks again to all of your support and offers of help. We are incredibly thankful both that the damage was not worse and that we are able to continue functioning as the hub and heart of the community so quickly.”

Deery said he is heartened by the outpouring of support from the community.

Hopkinton, NH – Sprinkler system assists fire crews in extinguishing fire at town library

Karen Dixon was sitting at the front desk of the Hopkinton Town Library about 4:30 p.m. when a lightning strike shook the building. A few uneventful minutes went by before Dixon heard something in the cupola above.

“I looked up and there was fire in the acoustical tile ceiling,” she said.  Dixon, two other employees and a volunteer pulled the fire alarm, called 911 and got out of the building as the flames spread. Firefighters arrived to find the cupola ablaze and the building filling with smoke, Hopkinton fire Chief Jeff Yale said.  Once the flames were doused, an inch and a half of water puddled on the floor, and the ceiling of the cupola had collapsed onto the desk where Dixon had been sitting.

“I am shocked. That’s my desk,” Dixon said. “That’s where I greet people every day. That’s my life.”  Yale said fire crews were trying to preserve as many books and possessions inside the library as possible and close up the holes in the roof.  “As we clean up the mess inside, we want to make sure with the storms coming through tonight, we don’t want to continue to add to that,” Yale said.

The library will be closed through the weekend as the extent of fire, water and smoke damage to the building and its contents are evaluated.  Townspeople quickly rallied around the library; select board members, friends of the library and library trustees were all at the scene Friday evening, surveying the damage and, later, calling in pizzas from Dimitri’s Pizza while first responders and a clean-up crew sucked water from the building.

“The library is definitely the center of the community,” said Hopkinton select board chairman Jim O’Brien by phone. “We’re already hearing from people asking how they can help.”

“We’re just sort of in shock,” said Amy O’Brien, Friends of the Hopkinton Town Library president.

The damage was pervasive, Jim O’Brien said – many of the library’s collections were damaged by smoke and water as crews put the blaze out.  Yale said the sprinkler system did its job, but it flowed water until the fire department shut it down after the fire was fully extinguished.

O’Brien said an assessment of the building and its contents, as well as whether any programming could continue at the library, would be done over the next few days, and that a solution would be discussed at the select board meeting on Monday.

Though the damage was bad, O’Brien said he was sure the town would continue to support its library.  “Knowing the people of Hopkinton, I’m sure they’ll try to get it back on their feet,” he said.

O’Brien said he was grateful to mutual aid responders for responding quickly to the fire. Emergency personnel from Boscawen, Concord, Hillsborough, Henniker, Warner, Bow and the Capital Area Compact Chief responded to the scene, according to the Hopkinton fire Facebook page.

Last month, a similar storm caused a trio of fires from lightning strikes in Concord, Bow and Hooksett. Fire destroyed the steeple of the Crossroads Community Church in Bow on July 17.

Stroudsburg, PA – Sprinkler system extinguishes fire in public library’s bookmobile

A small fire temporarily closed the Eastern Monroe Public Library on Wednesday. No one was injured, according to a series of statements on the library’s Facebook page.

“The fire was contained to the bookmobile and there is no damage to the Hughes Library Building,” it said in an 11:30 a.m. revision to an earlier statement. “We need to recharge our sprinkler system before reopening and a crew is on the way to complete that work. We hope to reopen this afternoon.”

The bookmobile was parked inside the library garage when the fire began, according to the same statement. The building’s sprinkler system extinguished the flames before the fire could spread.

“Rest assured everyone is fine,” the library page posted in a response to comments. “No one was in the building at the time and there is no damage to the building.”

“Yes, we intend to open this afternoon once the sprinkler system is reset. Thank you for your support.”

The building had reopened by 2:16 p.m., according to a later post.

“The Hughes Library has reopened and we will be open until the regular closing time of 9 p.m. today,” it said. “Thanks to the Stroud Township Fire Department and the Harrel Sprinkler Company for helping us to reopen quickly.”

Dallas, TX – Sprinkler system protects downtown public library from overnight fire

An overnight fire damaged the main public library building in downtown Dallas.

Firefighters were called to the Erik Jonsson Central Library at 12:15 Sunday morning on a report of smoke inside the building.

Dallas Fire Rescue called in backup crews because of the size of the building.

The source of the smoke was a light fixture, which experienced an electrical short in a lower storage area of the library, according to Dallas Fire Rescue.

The fire was extinguished immediately after the sprinkler system activated, which limited the damage to the light fixture and the ceiling nearby, Dallas Fire Rescue said.

No one was injured.

Fire at library halted by single sprinkler (Lake Forest, IL)

At around 9:15 p.m. on January 14, the Lake Forest Fire Department was called to the Lake Forest Library when heavy smoke was reported coming from the building. Fire crews, confirming that there were no occupants in the building, reported that the fire began when a broken light bulb fell from the ceiling and ignited a chair. A single fire sprinkler controlled the fire from spreading. There were no injuries reported.

Library arson fire controlled by sprinkler system (Brooksville, FL)

Firefighters were called to the East Hernando Branch Library in Brooksville on July 6 to put out a small fire. While no one was hurt, the smoke activated the building’s sprinkler system, damaging much of the inventory.

(*** BLOG EDITOR’S NOTE – Only the substantial heat from potentially deadly and damaging fire will operate a fire sprinkler, not smoke.  This fire was likely kept small due to the sprinkler system, which helped limit the damage to this structure)