Fire in Dubuque raises awareness about sprinkler systems - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Structure fire in Dubuque raises awareness about sprinkler systems


A structure in Dubuque County caught fire Tuesday evening, but it was with the fire department's blessing.

To raise awareness about the benefits of home sprinkler systems, the city of Dubuque set two nearly identical model rooms on fire.

The one without a sprinkler system went up in major flames in a matter of three minutes. In the other room, the sprinkler system kicked in after about 25 seconds and held the flames at bay.

Jeff Zasada is a building inspector for Dubuque's Building Services Department and led the demonstration. He was also on the Dubuque Fire Department for 18 years.

"I've seen the devastation for loss of family members and also the loss of personal belongings due to fires," Zasada said. "Personally, I'd like to see sprinklers in every home that's built."

He said a family can have a sprinkler system installed in their home for same cost as granite countertops. A recent study he cited estimates a sprinkler system at $1.35 per square foot of a home. A family in a 2,000 square foot home, therefore, would pay some $2,700. Zasada said it's a worthwhile cost to save lives and property damage in the event of a fire, which - as demonstrated Tuesday - spreads very quickly and dangerously.

For more information on home sprinkler systems, check out the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition HERE.

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