On the morning of April 5, 2016, a fire sprinkler system quickly controlled a fire in the basement maintenance area of Lexington Health Care retirement home in Orland Park. The fire sprinkler system activated as the fire, which was caused by a coffee maker on a shelf, spread to a desk and an adjacent wall.

Fire officials said the quick response of the fire sprinkler system saved lives and minimized damage, stating that it could have been a far worse fire without fire sprinklers. Damage was limited to the desk and shelves. When firefighters arrived, they only needed to use a fire extinguisher to completely extinguish the smoldering fire.

“This was a perfect example of how the sprinkler system quickly prevented the fire from spreading throughout the property, and minimized the intrusion on the lives of the residents in the home,” said Orland Fire Protection District Fire Chief Michael Schofield. “Every year at our open house event, we demonstrate the role fire sprinkler systems play in saving lives and preventing damage caused by fires in businesses, properties like assisted living centers, and even in private homes.”

Since the fire sprinkler system limited the spread of the fire, no residents needed be moved or evacuated and the daily operations of the facility were not interrupted.

“This fire sprinkler save is an example of why the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services chose to require fire sprinklers in all new and existing skilled nursing facilities nationwide as of August 13, 2013,” stated Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.