We had a reported structure fire with flow alarm at the Elizabeth Crossing Apartment Complex (Apt. F-5),
in Waterloo, NY yesterday.
We issued the Certificate of Occupancy for this complex in 2007. It has six apartment buildings
and one recreation/public use building. Each building has eight apartments, four upstairs and four
downstairs. All of the buildings are totally sprinkled and have automatic fire alarm systems. The buildings
are constructed with light weight floor and roof trusses. The buildings are placarded.
The Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched for a sprinkler flow alarm at Elizabeth
Crossing Apartment Complex. The Waterloo Assistant Fire Chief lives about three blocks away and
responded immediately to the scene. Upon his arrival the E911 Center had received a verbal confirmation
of a fire in the bathroom of apartment F-5. The tenant in apartment F-5 was utilizing the bathroom,
smoking and flicking ashes into a plastic trash receptacle (with tissues in it), next to the commode. Upon
completing his business, the tenant exited the bathroom leaving the ceiling fan on (for obvious reasons),
closing the door behind. Moments later, the tenant smelled smoke and heard the flow of water in the
bathroom. He also said he heard a bell ringing (outside sprinkler bell), at the same time. He opened the
bathroom door to find the sidewall sprinkler head activated and had extinguished the fire that spread from
the plastic trash receptacle, up the side of the vanity cabinet. At that time the Assistant Fire Chief arrived
on scene and evacuated the rest of the apartment building. Upon verification the fire was out, the sprinkler
system riser was shut off to prevent any further water damage.
Although the fire was small in nature, (as most are in the incipient stage), the fact still remains the
sprinkler system prevented a loss of life and property. Light water damage was sustained to the apartment
below and the carpeting in the fire apartment. There was “NO” structural damage. All tenants evacuated
with minimal smoke. In fact, the smoke was held to a minimum due to the exhaust fan in the bathroom
running at the time of the fire thus, ventilating a lot of the incipient smoke.
The sprinkler head was replaced, the system charged, fire alarm reset, and all electrical systems
certified (including replacement of the bathroom exhaust fan). All tenants are back in there apartments
today. If that is not a testimonial to why sprinkler systems should be mandated in all residences, I don’t
know what would be more factual.

Ken Canfield
Seneca County Code Enforcement
31 Thurber Dr.
Waterloo NY, 13165

Back to Home Page