A residential fire sprinkler system made quick work of a fire at a home in Murrieta Saturday afternoon, causing significant water damage in the process.
The incident took place at a two-story single family house in the 42000 block of Clark Way, near the intersection of Adams Avenue and Lemon Street.
According to Battalion Chief Steve Kean with the Murrieta Fire Department, a call came in shortly after 4:30 p.m. from an alarm company advising that the fire alarm was activated at the home.
Kean said one fire engine was dispatched to investigate the alarm, which is standard procedure.
When the engine arrived a few moments later, they found light smoke coming from the second floor of the home and immediately requested a full structure fire response, Kean said.
Upon making entry into the home, firefighters discovered that a small fire had started in an upstairs bedroom, but had been extinguished by the residential fire sprinkler system in the home, Kean said.
There was a significant amount of water damage as a result, Kean added.
Some resources were canceled, but two fire engines and one ladder truck remained at the scene to help remove some of the standing water from the house, Kean said.
He estimated there was approximately $30,000 in mostly water damage.
The fire itself caused some minor smoke and heat damage to the bedroom as well, Kean said.
However, the destruction likely would have been far worse if not for the sprinklers, Kean said.
“This was a case of a fire sprinkler system doing its job,” Kean said, adding that the fire would have rapidly spread to the upper floor of the home before anyone could have noticed and called 911.
The house was not occupied at the time of the fire, but one resident arrived home shortly before firefighters’ arrival, Kean said.
The cause of the fire appeared to be the result of incense burning in the upstairs bedroom, Kean said. The resident advised Kean that he had been burning incense, but left the home for a short period of time before returning to discover the fire sprinklers had been activated.
As of approximately two years ago, all new residential construction requires fire sprinkler systems according to California fire codes, Kean said.
Firefighters were expected to remain at the scene until they could remove the majority of the standing water from the home.
After that time, the homeowner would need to contact his insurance company to arrange for additional restoration, Kean said. The power was also shut off to the home.
Kean said the resident would be displaced as a result of the incident, due to the risk of electrical or structural damage to the home from the water. The resident was offered assistance from the American Red Cross.
No injuries were reported.
Joe Fanaselle is a local photojournalist and regular contributor to SWRNN.