Tag Archives: Maine

Saco, ME – Sprinkler system extinguishes apartment fire

The Saco Fire Department responded to a 911 call last week and arrived to find an extinguished apartment fire, thanks to a fire sprinkler system.

The Saco Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call shortly before 8 p.m. Dec. 26 from the occupant of an apartment who discovered a fire in a bedroom, which was being contained by the building’s fire sprinkler system at the time of the call. The occupant alerted her daughter, and the family safely evacuated outside.

Fire crews arrived on the scene and saw no smoke or fire but did confirm the fire in the bedroom was fully extinguished by the fire sprinkler system, which was then shut off and drained to prevent any additional and unnecessary discharge of water.

The apartment is part of a complex consisting of two, three-story buildings connected by an enclosed breezeway with 24 units in total.

An investigation determined that a candle on top of a bookshelf ignited decorative items nearby and that some of these items dropped onto a plastic tote below, causing the ignition of the tote. The single side-wall sprinkler head in the bedroom performed as designed, and when it operated, water flowed in an umbrella-like fashion, wetting the bedroom and extinguishing the fire.

The Saco Fire Department is happy to report that the quick activation of the building fire sprinkler system prevented a developing fire from extending beyond the first few items ignited.

The department reminds everyone never to leave a burning candle unattended and that when in use, a candle should be at least 12 inches away from anything that can catch fire and that it is on a stable and heat-resistant surface.

South Portland, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire at apartment building

Firefighters in South Portland are crediting a sprinkler system for minimizing the damage to an apartment building at 340 Clarks Pond Parkway.

The fire department was alerted to a fire at the Latitude apartment complex by a building’s fire alarm system. The building is a six-story apartment building  housing 64 units.

The automatic sprinkler system had contained a fire on a third floor balcony.

The building was evacuated while firefighters checked the structure.

The damage was minor, and there was no smoke or water damage inside the building, according to the department.

“This is a perfect example of why fire codes and safety systems are vital,” Fire Chief Phil Selberg said.

Without the activation of the sprinklers, damage could have been substantial and people may have been harmed, according to the chief.

Portland, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth fire departments assisted.

Gorham, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire in four-story on campus dormitory; No injuries reported

Gorham’s fire chief says the state fire marshal was called to the University of Southern Maine’s campus for the second time in roughly a week on Monday morning.

Chief Ken Fickett says his firefighters were called to Upton Hastings Hall at roughly 2:07 a.m., as students were being evacuated from the four-story dormitory.

The chief says the fire was determined to have started in a closet on the third floor, but was thankfully contained by the floor’s sprinkler system.

This latest incident comes a week after a fire on Monday, Sept. 25, in which a lithium battery from a vape pen was determined to have caused a fire in a trash can on the same floor of Upton Hastings Hall. No injuries were reported in either fire.

In that incident, 23 students were temporarily relocated.

In the latest incident, University of Southern Maine officials say 47 students from two floors are being temporarily relocated due to the damage from the fire sprinkler system, which activated immediately.

This week, there was no damage reported from the fire itself, though the cause is still being investigated.

“Details are still emerging,” wrote USM’s public affairs officer Dan Hartill. “For now, our focus is on the wellbeing of our students.”

Gorham, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire caused by vape pen; No injuries reported

A lithium battery from a vape pen caused a fire inside a trash can at the Gorham Campus of the University of Southern Maine Monday.

In a letter to students, USM’s President says the sprinkler system at the Upton/Hastings residence hall kept the fire from spreading. However, water damage forced 23 students living there to be relocated.

No one was injured in the fire that started on the third floor of Upton/Hastings around 2 p.m. Because the fire was a state academic building, the fire was investigated by the state fire marshal’s office.

The president’s office reminds students that USM is a smoke & vape free campus.

Lithium batteries can cause fires if the battery is damaged. The smoke and fumes from a lithium battery fire can be fatal.

Yarmouth, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire at marketplace; No injuries reported

A fire at a Route 1 mall in Yarmouth on Monday night was contained before it could spread to a dozen or so adjoining businesses.

Yarmouth Fire Chief Mike Robitaille credited the sprinkler system at the Sherwin Williams paint store, 438 Route 1, for preventing a much larger fire that he said could have caused significant damage to other businesses at Yarmouth Marketplace.

Robitaille said the fire started just after 6 p.m. in a ceiling dormer above Sherwin Williams. It did not reach any of the paint products stored at the business, but the store sustained significant water damage.

“The fire was quickly contained, but in all honesty, it was the sprinkler system that did the job,” Robitaille said. “If the fire had spread, it could have been a significant dollar loss.”

Some of the adjoining addresses in the mall, which include Romeo’s Pizza, Enterprise Rent a Car, an AT&T store, P&P Screen Printing and Royal River Baptist Church, sustained smoke damage.

Mutual aid was provided by Cumberland, Freeport and Falmouth. No injuries were reported and the cause remains under investigation.

Rockland, ME – Sprinkler system extinguishes fire in industrial building

A March 20 fire at the International Flavors and Fragrances plant on Lime Street started due to sunlight refracting through a glass ball that was facing a roll of paper towels.

Rockland Fire Chief Christopher Whytock said this was the second consecutive fire in which a sprinkler system in an industrial building worked like it was intended and limited damage. On March 1, the department responded to a fire at Weatherend Estate Furniture in the Industrial Park.

The call at IFF came in shortly after 6 p.m. March 20. Rockland crews were at the scene within a few minutes followed by Rockport.

Chief Whytock said a fire started in an office in Building 13. The sprinkler system extinguished the fire.

The chief said workers began to smell what they described as “dust on a heater” in the area of the office about 50 minutes before the fire alarm and sprinkler system tripped. Workers looked around but couldn’t find the source of the smell and it had dissipated. They looked through a glass door into the office but didn’t see any source of the smell.

“What we found is that the roll of brown paper towels had smoldered for some time before it then caught a plastic bottle next to the roll on fire and the alcohol that was in the bottle gave off enough heat to then start melting the radio in the area of the fire. Once that got burning the heat was enough to initiate the sprinkler system,” the chief said.

Workers were outside the large building immediately past the gate at the Lime Street entrance as firefighters went inside the structure which had a receiving sign on it.

The International Flavors and Fragrances plant produces carrageenan from seaweed. Even though the company lists IFF as its owner, workers were wearing hard hats that said DuPont.

Gardiner, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire in apartment building; No injuries reported

A small fire that started in a Maine Avenue apartment Monday shortly before 5 a.m. was put out by the building’s sprinkler system.

Gardiner Fire Chief Rick Sieberg said the tenant in the third-floor apartment apparently knocked into a stove, turning on a burner that ignited some nearby paper products and caused a small fire up the wall, which activated the sprinkler head.

The Maine Office of State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire.

“Having that sprinkler system is like having the fire department in your apartment 24/7,” Sieberg said. “The amount of property and lives that can be saved by that sprinkler system is enormous.”

Sieberg said the Gardiner firefighters who responded turned off the sprinkler.

This is the third time in the last decade the sprinkler system has extinguished a fire in that building, which is located several hundred feet from the site of a fire in July 2015 that destroyed 235 Water St. and damaged buildings on either side of it.

Sieberg said damage to the unit was minor, and no other unit was affected. No one was hurt.

Scarborough, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire at collision center; No injuries reported

No one was hurt when a fire broke out at Moody’s Collision Center in Scarborough on Monday.

Crews were called to an all-hands fire at the business on Pleasant Hill Road around 12:40 p.m.

The building took only minor damage thanks to the sprinkler system, which put most of the fire out.

Officials said the fire started in the paint booth.

We’re expecting more details from fire officials.

Portland, ME – Fire at high school contained by sprinkler system; No injuries reported

A fire that broke out early Sunday morning on the third floor of Westbrook High School was contained by an internal sprinkler system and by firefighters who scaled ladders to gain access to the classroom where it originated.

The sprinkler system at the unoccupied Stroudwater Street school activated, preventing the fire from spreading from the classroom to the rest of the wing, the Westbrook Fire Department said in a news release posted on its Facebook page.

Fire crews manning Engine 4 encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the third floor upon their arrival. The fire was reported at 4:59 a.m. Firefighters entered the building and were able to quickly locate the source of the fire.

Engine 4 positioned the truck ladder to connect to the third floor. A hose line was stretched across the ladder and crews on the inside used the hose to bring the fire under control. Photos posted on Facebook show two exterior classroom windows that had to be broken to gain entry. The exterior walls of the classroom were charred by the heat.

An investigation revealed that the cause of the was electrical in nature, likely due to the improper use of an extension cord with a window air conditioner, according to the fire department.

The fire department received mutual aid from the South Portland Fire Department, the Portland Fire Department and the Gorham Fire Department. Falmouth and Scarborough sent units to cover the city’s fire stations.

No injuries were reported.

Bar Harbor, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire at laboratory; No injuries reported

Shortly after 9:12 p.m. on Tuesday, the Bar Harbor Fire Department arrived at The Jackson Laboratory to investigate a fire alarm call coming from the laboratory.

Bar Harbor Fire Department Chief Matthew Bartlett said on Wednesday that the department responded as they normally do for a fire alarm call but soon realized there was an actual fire. “As our crew entered the building, they found the fire burning in the location. Our crew radioed back saying they had found fire in the building with sprinkler flow,” which, said Bartlett, prompted a call for additional resources.

That call brought the Mount Desert Fire Department, Southwest Harbor Fire Department, Ellsworth Fire Department and Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service to the scene. Bartlett said the Trenton Fire Department and responders from the Somesville Fire Station provided standby coverage.

“Mutual aid departments were not needed, so they were quickly released,” he said.

Though many departments were called, only about five or six responders entered the building.

“Our crew had to go in and put out the fire that the sprinkler system couldn’t fully extinguish,” said Bartlett, adding that it was primarily the contents of a shelving unit that caught on fire.

Around 10:30 p.m., the flames were doused and the departments cleared the scene.

All the research mice and employees were found to be safe.

The lab’s Executive Vice President and COO Catherine “Katy” Longley said that the lab community is grateful to the local fire departments and emergency personnel for their swift response. “We are thankful that all employees are safe,” she said.

On behalf of the fire department, Chief Bartlett said he was also appreciative of what the lab’s crew did Tuesday night to help the emergency personnel. “It was a team effort between The Jackson Lab and ourselves. Their staff did a great job in helping us get to where we needed to be,” said Bartlett.

“We got a fire alarm, the sprinkler system activated, we went down to investigate, found a little fire burning and luckily we were able to get in there and put the remaining fire out. The system worked as it was just designed to do.”