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Sprinkler ‘saved the day’ in Whangarei

Sprinkler ‘saved the day’ in Whangarei

January 26, 2006

A single sprinkler head is being credited with preventing tens of millions of dollars damage and saving close to 100 jobs in Northland.

A fire in a dust bag was put out by the sprinkler system at New Zealand Yachts’ $10 million facility on Monday night. No one was working in the factory at the time, but the fire is not considered suspicious.

By yesterday (Wednesday) the damage had been cleaned up entirely and work was continuing as usual, but Northland assistant fire region commander Mike Lister says it would have been a totally different story without the sprinklers.

“The fire could have destroyed the whole thing and we definitely would have had a severely damaged building.

“There was another storey above the affected one with resin and other flammable items in it so it could have been a big fire.”

Mr Lister says the environmental impact of a fire in the complex would have been large, too.

The complex is New Zealand’s largest specialist superyacht building facility with more than 90 staff working for three companies. New Zealand Yachts operations manager Martin Gleeson is delighted at how well the sprinkler system worked.

“If the fire had got out of hand or there had been water damage it would have been a disaster for all concerned.

“There would have been millions of dollars of work being finished waiting to go to superyacht builders in the States and places like that and it would have been ruined even if it just got wet.

“So the fact that the heat detector went off in time and the sprinkler worked on just the area of the fire really saved the day.”

He said a sensitive piece of computer equipment quite close to the fire was untouched by either smoke or water after the sprinkler head went to work.

ENDS

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