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Fire Department: Sprinklers 'Saved Arbor Park School from Burning Down'

A fire sparked in a document storage room at Arbor Park Middle School Friday evening. Without the school's sprinkler system, the building could have been engulfed, one Oak Forest fire official said.

A few halls of Arbor Park Middle School are flooded, and the stench of smoke lingers—but it could have been so much worse. 

An old radio or electronic device might have been the cause of a Friday night fire, and fire officials said if not for the sprinkler system, the school might not have been standing afterward. 

"If it wasn't for the building's sprinkler system, this place would still be burning," said Oak Forest Fire Lieutenant Jack Janozik. 

No students were present at the time of the fire, which started in a document storage room in the northwest corner of the building around 5:30 p.m. Firefighters trudged through hallways filled with thick, black smoke to deactivate the sprinklers. Custodians were inside the school at the time of the fire, but all evacuated safely. Tinley Park, Matteson, Orland Park, Crestwood and Posen fire departments all helped out on the scene. 

An investigator will determine the official cause of the fire, but it appears to have started near a radio set on top of a plastic mat. 

The school's sprinkler system was essential in snuffing out the flames, and saving the thousands of documents stored in the room.

"That saved this building from burning down," Janozik said. 

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Mike Fangman October 27, 2012 at 07:47 PM
The problem is some people can't get past the initial sticker shock of the high price tag.
Tired of the B.S. October 27, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Hey Mscholp, Since you are in the business, could let us know the difference in cost between the two types of systems? I am just curious if the 25-30 times higher cost reported by Terri is an accurate number.
KB281 October 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Lets say you did have FM 200 tanks protecting the school. How many tanks would it take to cover one classroom? What's the cost of having 1 tank recharged after it dumps? You would be recharging multiple tanks since they are ran in a series and controlled by one solenoid. How much does it cost to replace some drywall and 1 sprinkler head?
Amy Kupcake Litviak October 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Instead of bitching and complaining that the system isnt good enough (which it obviously worked just fine), why don't you all stop for 2 seconds and be grateful no children or staff were hurt?! Isn't that a little more important than acting like know it all's?
orland park home owner October 29, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I would like to address the person stating there was more clean up in a house fire due to sprinklers. I had a house fire in 2007 in my Orland Park home. It WAS NOT sprinkled unfortunately. The clean up from the smoke damage was about 60k as it reached the third level of my home. If the home was sprinkled the damage might have been only 20-25K according to the insurance company as well as the fire department.

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