Thawing Causes Fire Sprinklers to Burst in Historic Building

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BOISE -- While most can say they're happy southwest Idaho is finally having significantly warmer temperatures, there are some problems associated with the warm-up. Frozen pipes can burst once ice begins to thaw, and so can commercial fire sprinklers.
On Thursday afternoon, 10th Street Station in the Idanha Building flooded because of a burst fire sprinkler.

"It's definitely going to shut us down for the weekend," 10th Street Station Bar Manager Dan Krejci said. "We got here about noon, and the fire sprinkler pipe had burst, so that set off the fire sprinklers."

Firefighters say what happened has to do with freezing and thawing, and they've taken multiple calls for the same reason this week.

"The water inside the sprinkler system freezes. It can cause the sprinkler head to break, or it can cause the actual pipe to break," Boise Fire Captain Thomas Moore said. "Once that thaws, the water starts flowing, it will trip the fire alarm, so we will respond, only to discover a flood."

"By the time we got the fire department down here and they were able to turn the main valve off, we were about six inches deep in water," Krejci said.
Luckily, the bar's collection of sports memorabilia wasn't damaged, but the ceiling and floor took a big hit.

"Sprinklers are great. They will put fires out. They will keep fires in check until we get there. But when they activate, and they're not needed, they do cause a lot of water damage," Moore said.
The ceiling is already fixed, but cleaning and drying the carpet is going to take days. The bar plans to reopen on Monday afternoon.

"Kind of a bummer. It's kind of weird being closed on a weekend," Krejci said. "That's my main worry right now is just getting back open and getting up and running." | fire protection, retail fire protection, fire sprinklers