ALF Fire Protection

Four Residents Found Dead Following Retirement Home Fire

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A Pennsylvania retirement home, Barclay Friends, had a 5-alarm fire on November 16.  The flames reached 50 feet high and 400 responders arrived, according to the Philly Inquirer.  

It was a sad situatation, but brought the community together.  West Chester University students set up a temporary Red Cross shelter at the Ehringer Gym  This effort was headed by student and Friar Society member Joshua Dandridge.

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The facility had 133 residents and 15 staff members evacuated.  

Related Article:  Littlefield Nursing Home Fire:  Fires in History

Approximately three weeks after the fire it came out that four residents died during this fire.  The victims were husband and wife, Delores Parker, 89, and Thomas Parker, 92.  Mildred Gadde, 93, and Theresa Mallory, 85 were the other two victims.  The cause of death for all four were smoke inhalation.

The retirement home did have fire sprinklers (Johnson Controls).  The company spokesperson said they are, "assisting authorities and currently gathering information to find out more details about the fire."

Related Article:  Des Plaines Nursing Home Case Study

This is an excerpt from Barclay Friends press release:

"As the day and weekend goes on, residents from Barclay Friends now dispersed over many different communities in and around Chester County will rest, begin to heal, and commence with the longer range planning to support more permanent transitions as they may be needed.”

The statement further read, “As we know more we will be sure to deliver updates. In the meantime, we are heartbroken by what’s befallen Barclay Friends and uplifted by the caring and generosity that surrounds them and us.”

That Time Our Fire Sprinkler Saved Someone's Life.

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On October 24, F.E. Moran Fire Protection got to see their fire protection in action, and it saved someone's life.

Brian Gale, a Superintendent for the Morton office had recently changed the dry pendants at an assisted living facility in Peoria, IL.  The facility had ten year testing and inspections done and failed.  To get the system working, they needed to change out the dry pendants.

Electrical work was being done at the facility after the replacement.  New electrical panels were being installed.  Once installed, they turned on the panel and it blew up and started a fire.

The electrician who turned on the panel was trapped.

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He was caught in a small electrical room with no way out.  He began to pray.

When he looked up, he saw a fire sprinkler head.  He told himself, "If this doesn't go off, I will be dead."  Less than a minute later, it activated.

The sprinkler head went off and the fire was extinguished.  The electrician got out of the room unharmed.

The F.E. Moran Fire Protection fitter showed up a short time later and the electrician thanked him.

Brian Gale said, "It is rare for us to actually hear about the systems that we physically have worked on putting out fires and saving a life.  We hear it on the news occasionally, but I thought this was great."

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Bethany Terrace Case Study

assisted living fire protection

Written By:  Sarah Block, Director of Marketing & Education

When an existing long-term care facility needed to complete their partial fire sprinkler system in an occupied facility, F.E. Moran Fire Protection and Michuda Construction worked together to solve the issues that naturally arise when working in existing, occupied spaces.

Holistic Care for Patients with Special Needs

As a holistic, long term care facility in Morton Grove, IL, Bethany Terrace has a unique population of occupants that may complicate construction projects within the facility. Bethany Terrace caters to Alzheimer Disease and Dementia patients as well as residents who appreciate the peace of mind of having medical, rehabilitation, and therapy options close at hand. This facility is ideal for those who need assistance in day to day life. However, because of the needs of the residents, construction must be coordinated carefully in order to have little to no impact on the occupants.

When Bethany Terrace decided to expand their fire protection system, they hired Michuda Construction to head the project. In turn, Michuda Construction hired F.E. Moran Fire Protection to design, install, and manage the fire protection project. With a reputation for quality work and respect for assisted living facility residents, F.E. Moran Fire Protection exceeded their expectations.

Complications Spurred from Existing Site

 

With a facility that houses patients that may either be immobile or have cognitive deficiencies, coordinating a fire protection project can be complicated. Because Bethany Terrance is an existing, running site, the installation needed to work with both the already existing fire sprinkler infrastructure and the resident's schedule and occupancies.

The first challenge began with the design of the fire protection system. Bethany Terrace was already partially protected with fire sprinklers, so F.E. Moran Fire Protection needed to work with the existing sprinkler system in order to make the property a 100% sprinklered facility. In order to merge the old and the new system, the original system, risers, and fire department connection needed to be re-worked to accommodate the new system. While the design was being created, it was discovered that the area above the ceiling had limited space with the I-beam construction.

Another challenge began in the coordination of the installation phase. The majority of the space that needed to be sprinklered was occupied by residents. In order to limit the impact on residents, F.E. Moran Fire Protection needed to strategically schedule installation and store equipment.

Working Together to Solve Coordination and Design Issues

With the help of Michuda Construction and Bethany Terrace, F.E. Moran Fire Protection re-routed the piping and minimized, and, in many cases, eliminated, the need to install soffits to conceal the piping. F.E. Moran Fire Protection was hired as a design-build contractor, so they were able to complete hydraulic calculations to minimize the pipe sizes in order to fit the small above ceiling space.

In order to accommodate the occupied areas during construction, F.E. Moran Fire Protection modified the phasing schedule to work with the patients' schedules. They worked closely with Bethany Terrace to create a schedule that would not impact the residents' daily activities and limited the duration of the project. With the combined efforts of F.E. Moran Fire Protection's office, design, and field staff, Michuda Construction's Superintendent, and Bethany Terrace personnel, the fire sprinkler installation schedule was able to be adjusted without extending the project.

Through the challenges of installing in an existing site with limited above ceiling space and working in an occupied facility, F.E. Moran Fire Protection, Michuda Construction, and Bethany Terrace were able to work together to install a fire sprinkler system on time and without impacting the special occupants residing within Bethany Terrace. Project Manager Pat Horan stated, "I thought the working relationship was very good and the owner was happy with our work." Ryan Johnson of Michuda Construction added, "The entire team worked together to provide a positive product in a timely manner."

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Des Plaines Nursing Home Case Study

Des Plaines Nursing Home

Written By:  Sarah Block, Director of Marketing & Education

When a fire sparked at a Des Plaines nursing home, the recently installed fire sprinklers were put to the test.
 

Fire Sprinklers Put to the Test

On February 19, 2015 at 8:15am, the fire department received a sprinkler activation alert at a Des Plaines Nursing Home. A mattress was on fire (cause has not been released), and the fire was contained to the point of origin thanks to fire sprinklers installed by F.E. Moran Fire Protection.

After a string of deadly fires in nursing homes, fire sprinklers became mandated and required to be installed by December 31, 2013. Because of this, there was an influx of fire sprinkler retrofit projects. With a retrofit at a nursing home comes certain obstacles, and this project was no exception.

Coordination is Key

When retrofitting a nursing home, the major hurdle is synchronizing with the patients. Every resident still needs a room, so careful coordination is key. Residents needed to have a room to stay and limited disruption to their daily schedules. After all, the patients are the center of the business, and their comfort and health are of the utmost importance.

Putting Patients First

To coordinate with patients' schedules, F.E. Moran Fire Protection worked with staff to create a timetable that minimized inconvenience to staff and patients. Their careful coordination allowed them to achieve production goals, keeping cost under control.

 


Fire Sprinklers Put to the Test

In the end, F.E. Moran Fire Protection finished the project successfully. Ken Klimasz said, "Overall the project was a success. [It] definitely supported the need for constant communication and flexibility by both parties for a successful outcome."

The fire sprinklers proved their worth when a fire ignited in a patient's room. The single fire sprinkler head activated, and controlled the blaze until fire fighters could extinguish it. Arnold Witzke, Fire Marshal for North Maine Fire Protection District said, "From the day of the incident, I felt it necessary to let you know the system your company installed needs to be credited with a save....Our department feels that there was a distinct possibility we could have had loss of life or more serious injuries than was experienced....on behalf of Fire Chief Richard Dobrowski and the entire North Maine Fire Protection District, job well done, F.E. Moran."

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