Sprinkler saves the day in Port Royal apartment fire

3 mins read

An automated sprinkler system helped prevent widespread damage and save lives in a fire at Parc at Broad River apartments on Wednesday, Aug. 22. 

Just after 6:30 p.m., the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department was dispatched to an activated fire alarm at the apartment complex in Port Royal. Units from the Beaufort-Port Royal and Burton departments responded to the alarm.

The first arriving engine company found an activated alarm, residents evacuating, and smoke coming from a top floor apartment and called for a full structure fire response. Additional units from Beaufort- Port Royal, Burton, and Parris Island responded to add additional personnel, pumpers, and aerial trucks to the assignment.

“Crews went into action fast and did an excellent job,” said incident commander Battalion Chief David Grabenbauer of the Burton Fire District. “We had the problem identified, the fire department connection supplied with water to supplement the fire sprinkler activation, a line from the pumper pulled to the third floor where the affected apartment was, and a crew gaining access to search the apartment for victims and finish extinguishing the fire within minutes of arriving for the alarm.”

The source of the blaze was determined to be a couch that caught fire, and a series of safety measures limited the damage. A smoke alarm detected the smoke from the fire early and transmitted the alarm to the central monitoring station, who notified the dispatch center to send firefighters. The alarm also notified residents to evacuate, and the fire sprinkler kept the flames from spreading beyond the burning couch until crews arrived to shut down the sprinkler system and mitigate water damage to nine affected apartments.

“From start to finish this incident was mitigated in two hours,” said Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Chief Reece Bertholf. “Thanks to the actions of our building code officials, inspectors, fire marshals, operations personnel and emergency response partners, this business has been built up out of the ground, safely occupied, suffered a fire incident, and can be quickly repaired and re-occupied without a single injury to report, occupant nor firefighter. I couldn’t be more proud of our community efforts in smart, safe, development and emergency response tonight.”

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