Fire at CAHS extinguished by sprinklers

FLINT TWP. — A sprinkler system extinguished a fire in the maintenance office at Carman-Ainsworth High School Tuesday night.

Assistant Fire Chief Michael Burkley said the Flint Township Fire Department was alerted to a sprinkler activation at about 10:41 p.m. inside the building at 1300 N. Linden Road. The sprinkler set off a water flow alarm at the department.

Burkley said when firefighters arrived, they found water flowing out of the building in the loading dock and swimming pool areas and could see smoke in the hallway near the swimming pool. Firefighters forced their way into the building and saw the water was coming from the maintenance office.

“Luckily, there was a single sprinkler head in that office that put out the fire,” Burkley said. “They’re designed to go off when temperatures get to over 150 degrees. The fire was contained to a desk that had electronic items on it. You could see where it burned up the wall. If there had been no sprinkler there, it would have been much worse.”

Burkley said a sprinkler system can put out about 35 to 50 gallons of water a minute. Once firefighters determined the fire was extinguished, they shut down the sprinkler system and remained on the scene until about midnight sweeping water from the building and setting up ventilation fans to rid the building of smoke.

Burkley said there was no one in the building at the time of the fire. He said school administration and maintenance staff quickly showed up after being alerted by a monitoring company and Genesee County 911. He said an employee of the sprinkler company also came to the scene to install a new sprinkler head and reset the system.

Water also ran into the boiler room, but no damage was caused to the equipment there.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Classes were being held at the high school Wednesday morning.

The Flint Township Police Department assisted at the scene.