BEAUFORT, S.C. (April 7, 2021) -- The City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department responded to two structure fires at apartment complexes over the weekend extinguished by the sprinkler system. The first structure fire happened Saturday, April 3, in the early morning just after midnight at the Parc at Broad River apartments. Firefighters arrived on scene to find an activated sprinkler head on the porch of an apartment on the ground floor. During the investigation, firefighters determined that there had been a fire on the porch but it was extinguished by the sprinkler head.
The second structure fire was on Easter Sunday at 8:20 am at the Preserve Apartments in Port Royal. The first Engine Company arrived on scene less than three minutes after being dispatched and found heavy white smoke in one of the second-floor apartments. After investigation it was determined that there was a fire in the kitchen, and it had been extinguished by two of the closest sprinkler heads in the apartment.
It is very important to have a sprinkler system in multi-family dwellings like large apartment complexes, said Assistant Fire Chief Ross Vezin. There has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building and property losses are 85% less in residences with fire sprinklers compared to those without. “Most people think that when a fire happens in a sprinklered building that every sprinkler head activates, but that is not the case," Vezin said. "Only the sprinkler head closest to the fire activates water at a rate of 8–24 gallons per minute compared to a fire hose of 100–150 gallons per minute.” Always make sure to have working smoke alarms, he added. (If you need smoke alarms, please call the Fire Department at 843-525-7055.)
Both fires are currently under investigation, and there were no injuries. The City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department, Beaufort County EMS, Town of Port Royal Police Department, Parris Island Fire Department, and Dominion Energy all responded to these incidents.