The City of Helena Fire Department, Fire Prevention and Investigation Bureau is currently investigating the failure of 3 sprinkler heads that occurred in our jurisdiction.

The first incident occurred on May 12, 2000, at the Arcade Building located
at 111 N. last Chance Gulch in Helena, Montana. At approximately 1131 hours the City of Helena Fire Department was dispatched to a water flow alarm at the premises. Upon arrival Firefighters found water flowing from a single pendent sprinkler head located in an office on the 4th floor of the
building. Firefighters placed a sprinkler wedge in the open head and shut
off the water supply.

The second incident also occurred at the Arcade Building on June 28, 2000. As in the previous incident the City of Helena Fire Department was
dispatched to a water flow alarm. Responding Firefighters found water
flowing from a single pendent sprinkler head located in an office on the 3rd
floor of the building. Firefighters placed a sprinkler wedge in the open
head and shut off the water supply.

In both incidents there was no apparent reason for the sprinkler heads to
operate. There was no sign of mechanical damage to the heads and no
indication of excessive heat was present in either of the offices. The heads
involved are Gem pendent type automatic sprinkler heads. Markings on the
fusible link indicate that this is a 165 degree (Fahrenheit) head with a
date of 1975. Markings on the deflector are as follows: SSPI UL Listed 458A.

The third incident occurred on September 14, 2000, at the U.S. Post Office
located at 2300 Harris Street in Helena, Montana. Again as in the two
previous incidents at the Arcade Building, the City of Helena Fire
Department was dispatched to a water flow alarm at the premises. Responding Firefighters found water flowing from a single pendent sprinkler head located in the ground level garage of the building. Again there was no sign of mechanical damage to the head and no indication of excessive heat in the area.

The head involved in the incident was a Grinnell Duraspeed pendent type
automatic sprinkler head. Markings on the fusible link indicate that this
is a 165 degree (Fahrenheit) head with a date of 1975. Markings on the
deflector are as follows: SSPI UL Listed 458A.

Anyone with information which may shed light on the cause of these incidents is asked to contact Deputy Fire Marshal Fritz Zettel at the City of Helena Fire Department.

Fritz R. Zettel
Deputy Fire Marshal
Fire Prevention and Investigation Bureau
City of Helena Fire Department
406-447-8497 (voice)
406-447-8467