Fire Alarm Sprinkler System Failure Floods Lenfest Commons

Byline: Laura B. Hans

Posted: March 3, 2011

On Thurs, Feb. 10, during the regularly scheduled fire drill, the fire sprinkler system activated, releasing water on the ground floor and first floors of Lenfest Commons.

Although the exact problem could not be pinpointed, there was a fault within the computer program causing both the alarm system and the sprinkler system to activate.

The Malfunction

The sprinkler system functions with a computerized fire detection device. Nitterhouse Alarm Company, an outside contractor, evaluated the system and determined there was a corruption, but could not locate the exact problem.

Chambersburg Fire Department

The Chambersburg Fire Department, who was already present for the drill, shut off the water. The Chambersburg Fire Department members, Wilson College students, Franklin Fire Company, Marion Fire Company, Caroline Perkins, Mike Small, Ralph Brennan, Tom Faith and many others joined the clean up efforts. Units were on the scene for roughly an hour. Jack Kelly, Director of Facilities Management says, "Everybody involved in the clean up did an excellent job and we appreciate the help. The students were really excellent."

Preventing Dangerous Mold

Furniture and carpets were removed and the water was also removed. Fans were later set in place for mold prevention.

Nitterhouse Alarm Company

Nitterhouse Alarm Company will be on site during the next fire drill to ensure it runs smoothly. Kelly is also looking into changing the sprinkler system to an open head system. The open head system sprinklers are set off by heat instead of a fire detection device. Kelly must receive approval from the fire marshal prior to their full consideration and installation.

Last Updated: September 25, 2011

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