Just after 3:30 a.m. on January 11th, the volunteers of Valley Forge Fire Company were alerted to a fire alarm in a group home for adults with developmental difficulties. A few moments after dispatch, the Deputy Chief arrived on the scene and reported an active alarm and that the house had been evacuated.
Upon entering the house, smoke was evident. The assignment was upgraded to a house fire, bringing additional manpower and equipment to the scene. Further investigation found an activated sprinkler in a closet with evidence of smoke and charring damage to the walls.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but it is obvious that had the sprinkler not been present; it would have been a very different outcome for the residents of the home. Crews operated for 45 minutes, including inspecting the house for any concealed fire, resetting the sprinkler system and checking on the well-being of the evacuees.
It is important to note that had this home been built to comply with the present state code, passed with the support of the Pennsylvania Home Builders Association, there would not have been a sprinkler in the closet. This home complied with a previous Schuylkill Township code that mandated closets be sprinkled due to the typical amount of combustible material found inside them. Sprinklers cost, on average, $1.00 per square foot to install and today saved many thousand dollars worth of damage.
"Protecting Your National Heritage" P.O. Box 62 630 Valley Park Road Valley Forge, PA 19481