“No one can survive that,” said state fire marshal Mike Causey as flames roared and thick, black smoke poured into the Carolina Blue sky.
From a small spark to a fully involved, 800-degree inferno in one minute and 50 seconds – a mock dorm room without fire suppression sprinklers went up like kindling on Wednesday in Chapel Hill.
The demonstration of a fire in a dorm without sprinklers and in one with them highlighted the value of the life saving fire suppression devices.
Chapel Hill firefighters set two mock dorm rooms ablaze to show how effective the devices can be.
When the mock dorm with sprinklers reached 155 degrees, the sprinklers activated and put the fire out completely within seconds.
The death of five UNC-Chapel Hill students in a 1996 fraternity fire prompted UNC to retrofit all dorms and Greek housing with sprinklers. Since then, sprinkler systems have been installed in all new campus housing.
“Sprinklers save lives,” said insurance commissioner Mike Causey, who is also the state fire marshal. “We’re glad UNC Chapel Hill has installed sprinklers in all of its on-campus housing. We wish every college in the state would install functional sprinkler systems in their campus housing.”
The average fire department response time in the area is about 8 to 10 minutes.