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.