In this case study, Pat Winn (project manager) details how we overcame major obstacles installing fire protection in an alcohol production facility.
Mall fire protection is complex. Each store has its own fire hazards, and it takes a real pro to know how to protect it correctly (plus, keep that protection maintained). The stories below show case malls that not only adequately protected their property and maintained their fire sprinkler and alarm systems, but inadvertently tested the systems with real life fires.
Installing fire sprinkler systems is only the first step to protecting malls. You need to inspect them and maintain them as well. F.E. Moran Fire Protection has a VIP program for malls. Malls get FREE inspections, and F.E. Moran Fire Protection does all the maintenance. Simple solution to malls' fire protection needs.
Fire crews found a fire in a restaurant storage closet at Eastridge Mall.
Before firefighters arrived, a single fire sprinkler head in the building activated. This sprinkler controlled the fire until firefighters could arrive and extinguish it completely.
In an official statement, the fire department said that the fire was contained to that small storage area and the damage was minimal. The exact cost of the damage has not yet been determined. In addition, no one was injured.
"The presence of the system in this case limited spread of the fire to other areas of the structure. What could have been a well-developed and growing fire was controlled in the area of origin until arrival of firefighters. These systems represent an important life safety and property protection component of modern structures," said Casper Fire-EMS.
A fire was reported at 9:17pm at an electronic store at Irving Mall. Heavy smoke was reported; however, when firefighters arrived, the mall's fire sprinkler had already activated. By 10:20pm, the fire was under control.
The fire was contained in the room it originated. There was heavy smoke, but firefighters used fans to vent the smoke out of the building.
A fire at Concord Mills started at 9:15am in the bathroom of an FYE store. Concord Fire Chief Ray Allen reported that the sprinkler system kicked on and helped put out the fire. The stores were able to re-open within two hours of the fire.
Fairfax County fire investigators said that an exhaust fan started a 2-alarm fire at the Tysons Corner Center mall. When firefighters arrived, they reported smoke coming from the roof, and they were quickly able to put out the fire.
The fire was started by an overheated exhaust fan motor that came in contact with paper towel rolls. The fire was in the storage closet of a kiosk. A fire sprinkler ignited and contained the fire until firefighters arrived to extinguish it.
In total, there was about $30,000 in damages and no injuries.
Fire crews responded to a fire in the kitchen of a restaurant at Mill Woods Mall. The fire was contained by an activated fire sprinkler until firefighters could extinguish it.
Magnificent Mile Parking Gets Safer
The Shops at Northbridge is a bustling shopping experience that brings tourists in for a sweet treat at Sugar Factory or a new outfit at Nordstrom. Hundreds, maybe thousands of cars are in and out of the parking garage at 10 East Grand Avenue each day. They need to be protected, so F.E. Moran Fire Protection, Northern Illinois (FPN) was hired to install fire protection in the 11-story parking garage and an adjacent 2-story parking garage - while remaining open. The challenges of working in an open parking garage were real, but they met the difficult task head on and the project ended successfully.
Two Parking Garage Projects with No Closures
The project was challenging on multiple levels. Both, the 11-story and 2-story parking garage remained open during the entire project. This made coordination and scheduling especially important on this project.
The project schedule was very aggressive. FPN was awarded the project in mid-August and needed to complete it before Thanksgiving when the shopping rush would begin for the holidays. Not only did FPN need to coordinate with having parts of the garage open at all times, they also needed to maintain a tight deadline. The aggressive timeline made getting materials on time more challenging, especially since special piping was needed and the lead times were too long for the project timeline.
Planning is the Key to Success
To meet the challenge of working in an open parking garage, FPN made diligent plans ahead of time. They scheduled out where the fitters would be installing and coordinated accordingly. That way, they could keep much of the parking garage open while completing their job on time.
Our project manager, Bob Modica, sought out materials from a variety of places to meet demands. He worked with several fabricators to get the materials he needed on time.
Nothing Compares to Team Effort
In the end, FPN installed a dry-pipe fire protection system with a nitrogen generator with 3,900 sprinkler heads. A nitrogen generation system, when added to a dry pipe sprinkler system, removes oxygen and reduces corrosion. Nitrogen has a negative dew point, which dries out any water that may be in the pipes, eliminating two elements that cause corrosion.
The Magnificent Mile parking garage got a dry-pipe system with nitrogen to prevent corrosion, on time without inconveniencing Shops of Northbridge guests. Bob Modica said, "This was truly a team effort. The field, design, purchasing, and project management all worked together and most importantly, communicated well throughout the project to make this a highly successful project."
Firefighters say that fire sprinklers could help South Carolina's dire statistics. South Carolina is a leading state for fire-related deaths.
A recent fire showed that fire sprinklers make a huge difference. An apartment caught fire in Beaufort, SC, when firefighters arrived four minutes after the call, the fire was extinguished and no one was injured. In fact, firefighters didn't have much to do. They mopped up some water and called it a day.
"We've seen buildings that don't have sprinkler systems and buildings that do have sprinkler systems. It's quite a relief to get on a scene, see all those families evacuating, which was a good thing, and be able to go in there, and know that it's just a small, essentially a mop up operation," said Daniel Byrne with the Burton Fire District.
As an example of what can happen when there aren't sprinkler systems, Byrne explained a fire he worked on at another apartment complex.
"We had a major fire at the Mossy Oaks Village apartment complex a number of years ago, several families were displaced. It started as a fire in a closet and just grew out of control. There was no sprinkler system and they lost the building."
South Carolina opted to not require fire sprinklers in apartment buildings.
Byrne continued, "That frustrates us at the firefighter level because not only are we watching families become homeless, not only do we see the injuries and deaths, but we're putting our lives at risk going in to put out a fire that technology and codes could have eliminated before it even really got started."