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Fire Chief: Fire Damage Reduced by Sprinklers

The $25K in estimated damage could have been much greater if overhead sprinklers were not installed in the building 15 years ago, Des Plaines Fire Chief Alan Wax stated.

A fire that erupted at a Des Plaines electrical contracting company early Saturday morning could have caused more extensive damage, had overhead sprinklers not contained the blaze until firefighters arrived on the scene, Des Plaines Fire Chief Alan Wax stated.

“It is very evident that, without the sprinklers, by the time the Fire Department would have been notified, the fire would have advanced deeply into the open wooden truss ceiling, and the building likely would have been a total loss,” Wax stated. “Instead, one business has some cleaning-up to do, two others have some smoke odor to air out, and they will all be back in business quickly.”

The Des Plaines Fire Department received the call about the fire at 216 Graceland Avenue at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, according to the report, as an activated automatic fire alarm.

Crews arrived on the scene four minutes later, Wax stated, and quickly extinguished the fire with one hose line. The businesses were closed and there were no injuries.

Firefighters found the fire in the shop area of the building, at SRU Electric, which occupies the building with other tenants including a dance studio. The cause is still being investigated, Wax said.

Chris Poteet, owner of SRU Electric, agreed that the overhead sprinklers were good to have. He said his company was open on Monday and the fire did not impact their ability to provide service to clients.

“On a scale of one to 10, it was a one,” Poteet said.

Property loss was estimated at $25,000, according to the report.

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