12 deaths due to 11 fires spurs firefighter demonstration - WKRN News 2

12 deaths due to 11 fires spurs firefighter demonstration

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -

After 12 people lost their lives in 11 days due to house fires, Murfreesboro firefighters staged a demonstration showing the difference between the effectiveness of sprinklers in homes and how much water firefighters use.

A small controlled fire inside a department trailer was extinguished in a matter of seconds due to a sprinkler.

The sprinkler continued for about six minutes and used 20 gallons of water.

Wayne Waggoner, Executive Director of the Tennessee Fire Sprinkler Contractors Association, told Nashville's News 2 that amount of water is exponentially less than the amount of water from a fire hose and truck.

"If you count that up, in six or seven minutes, that's a lot less water going into that building to extinguish that fire than what we would use with the 95 to 1000 gallons on our fire hose or the fire trucks," Waggoner explained.

A firefighter spraying water from a ladder truck used over 11,000 gallons of water in the same amount of time as the sprinkler.

Businesses and commercial buildings are required to have sprinklers by law, and in Cheatham County, sprinklers are only required in homes being built.

Murfreesboro Fire Marshall Ken Honeycutt gave a few suggestions for homeowners so they can avoid similar tragedies due to house fires.

Those suggestions include:

"You need to, once a year, clean those detectors out, and when I say clean I mean vacuum and dust those things out because there could be some dust accumulation in there," Honeycutt said.

"Normal shelf life for most detectors is about 10 years. So if you've got some more than 10 years it's probably a good idea to go ahead and replace those," he added.

He continued, "You may have lint built up [in a clothes dryer]. That's typically the biggest issue. So you need to clean those once a year and you need to make sure you get someone, or you can do it yourself, clean the vent pipe that goes out to the exterior of the building."

Electric power strips can also cause fires, like the fire that broke out Monday at Fairview High School.

Honeycutt recommends people only use those strips for temporary power supply and to make sure they are inspected and replaced when discoloration occurs.

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