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A tale of two fires
Kieler Fire Prevention 3072 web
The Dickeyville and Jamestown fire departments, along with the Dickeyville-Jamestown EMS and Dickeyville Police, collaborated on a demonstration of the benefits of having a sprinkler system installed in a home. - photo by Dena Harris

KIELER—A realistic fire situation was demonstrated for the Holy Ghost-Immaculate Conception students in Kieler on Friday. Representatives of the Dickeyville-Paris Fire Department, Dickeyville-Jamestown EMS and Jamestown Fire Department all took part in the event.

Using two separate structures, fire crews demonstrated how fast a fire can progress in a living room, one version with a sprinkler system and one version without. Crews started a fire at the back of the room and the crowd was able to watch the fire grow and spread.

Dickeyville-Paris fire chief Troy Trost said it was the first time they had attempted this type of demonstration.
“We really hoped it was going to work,” Trost said.

In the first scenario, the fire was lit in a room without a sprinkler system. The smoke built in the enclosed room, filling the space with thick, black smoke. Within 3 minutes, the fire took over the entire room, became deadly and was knocked down with water by the waiting firefighters.

In the second scenario, the fire was lit and a heat sensor tracked the temperature jump to over 120 degrees within the first few seconds. As the fire grew, the temperature climbed quickly and the water sprinkler system was activated after only 31 seconds. The fire was out within the first minute, eliminating the smoke build-up and deadly situation of the first scenario.

Dallas Dietzel, chief of the Dickeyville-Jamestown EMS and a member of the Dickeyville-Paris Fire Department, said the fire triples in size every minute.

Gerry Oberbroeckling, fire chief at Jamestown Fire Department, said the fire sprinklers contain a glass casing that breaks when the air surrounding it reaches 135-165 degrees. When the glass breaks, it allows water to pass through, dispersing it on the fire.

Trost said the newly constructed homes are built air-tight with lighter materials, which allows the fire to take off faster. A home can be fully-engulfed in flames within the first few minutes of a fire starting. A fire can become deadly in three minutes, as the students witnessed.

Trost reminded the students that if they find themselves in a smoke-filled or burning room, to get low to the ground. The students witnessed the way the thick black smoke filled the upper portion of the room first, leaving the lower part of the room visible.

Trost said most of the deadly home fires happen at night while people are sleeping, which makes smoke detectors an important part of every home.