Dormant Fire Sprinkler Damages Retail Property

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fire sprinklersWarsaw, WY -- A furniture store's boiler room roof collapsed when fire sprinklers - that no one knew were active - froze and flooded the area.

When the building was the Wyoming County Community Hospital, it had fire sprinklers.  As it turned out, the fire sprinkler system, which hadn't been maintained since the hospital moved in 1953, was still active.  A pipe froze when the building's boiler malfunctioned.  It then burst.  The water flooded above the boiler room causing the ceiling to collapse.

Kevin Zeches, the retired owner of the furniture store, said his son was working at the time.  His son Brandon heard what sounded like a vehicle hitting the building.  When he followed the noise, Brandon discovered that water was pouring from the ceiling of the boiler room.

Kevin Zeches said, "He came in and he thought the building collapsed.  You had sheetrock, and all the dripping, and we thought for sure the roof had collapsed.  But there's no snow on the roof.  The water's running all over like Niagara Falls."

The two men tried to shut the water off at the meter, but it was rusted shut.  The village water department knew of a seperate connection for the sprinkler system and were able to shut it off.

The men thought the fire sprinkler system was shut down, but found out the hard way that it was not.  They are now having it disconnected.