Case Study - Underground Fire Main Installation

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Contributor:  Mike Warmington, Project Manager of F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems
Writer:  Sarah Block, Marketing Director of The Moran Group

When F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was tasked with the job of completing an underground installation and upgrade with a strict deadline, Mother Nature attempted to impede their plans. However, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems persevered, and finished earlier than the original deadline.


Plant's Sale Results in Tight Deadline


A small town in Will County, Illinois with a population that barely reaches 2,000 is the home to a "peaker plant" that supplements the electrical needs of local homes and businesses. This plant was in a tight position when it was sold to a new owner with the stipulation of updating the fire protection before the 12 week close date. In comes F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems, who not only finished on time, but early despite numerous obstacles.


Mother Nature Provides Unique Challenge


A Will County peaker plant was sold with the condition of updating the underground fire mains and adding new tie-ins to the existing fire pump house before the close date, providing a unique challenge. The parent company had to find a contractor who had a reputation for completing projects with high quality while under a tight deadline. Originally, the bid was for a twelve week turnover, but once the contractor was chosen, the timeline needed to be reduced to eight weeks.

The timeline alone would be a difficult challenge for any contractor, but during installation, torrential downpours wreaked havoc on Illinois. In 1 day, the Chicago area saw a record setting 5 inches of rain, 600 flooded streets, 1,200 flooded homes, and 1 massive sinkhole that swallowed several cars. This state-wide disaster took place during the underground installation stage of an already difficult project.

F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems Overcomes Obstacles


With several tight timeline projects under their belt, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was chosen as the fire protection contractor for the peaker plant project. With this project, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was required to replace the existing underground fire mains and new tie-ins to the existing fire pump building in two months.


The massive downpours caused another hurdle for the installers. For safety reasons, excavation needed to halt during the rains. If it had continued, the trenches may have collapsed, seriously injuring someone. Once the rain had ended, the installers used pumps to remove the water from the trenches. Due to the record-setting rain, the ground absorbed so much water that each morning the trenches were full of the water that had seeped through the trench walls and into the excavation site. The F.E. Moran Superintendent ordered extra pumps to accommodate the flooding and arrived at 5:30am each morning to pump before the work could begin.

In order to finish the increasingly more difficult task of completing the project in eight weeks, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems' installers worked weekends and evenings to complete the project to specifications.

Within the revised eight week timeline, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems completed the project, despite the barrage of obstacles. Through hard work and a dedicated team of installers, this peaker plant had their underground fire mains and fire pump house completed in time for the closing of the sale.

F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems has been providing turn-key fire protection solutions for power plants, chemical processing facilities, and heavy industrial plants since 1979. Through this targeted experience, they are able to utilize their expertise to conquer seemingly impossible tasks under extreme pressure.

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