July 09, 2009
Ketchikan Fire Department crews were dispatched on an alarm activation at 7:48 PM and the first KFD unit was on-scene at 7:50 PM.
According to information provided by Fire Chief Jim Hill, the first unit on scene reported "no smoke showing" but witnesses from inside the building reported "smoke in the building". The alarms on scene indicated a sprinkler activation and, because of the smoke in the building, a "second alarm" was called that brought a total of 8 fire apparatus including 2 engines and a ladder truck and about 20 KFD firefighters and support personnel to the scene. Ketchikan Police Department also had 3 officers on scene to assist.
Hill said the initial responding fire teams went to the 7th floor and found that the fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system and fire crews immediately stopped the flow of water from the sprinkler system. Crews then concentrated on water cleanup in apartment 707 where the fire started. Seven other apartments sustained minor water damage below the apartment where the sprinkler activation took place. There were no injuries in the fire and damage was limited to between 7 and 10 thousand dollars. There was one person in the apartment at the time of the fire. The apartment has three tenants. The Red Cross was contacted to supply temporary housing for the 3 displaced tenants until water cleanup could be completed.
KFD crews cleared the scene at 10:01 PM
"I can't say enough about sprinkler systems.... the fire in Tongass Towers is more proof that sprinkler systems save lives. The building was filled with people at the time of the fire. We had no injuries and damage was limited to less than $10,000. It would have been a much different scenario if Tongass Towers would not have been protected by that system," said Chief Hill.
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