Dear Readers,

In the first edition of the Fire Protection Press of the New Year, we would like to explore a topic that garners interest this time of year: frozen fire sprinkler pipes. During the winter months, fire sprinkler pipes that were not properly designed for the climate may freeze. Now that spring is approaching, facilities may see the corresponding leaks from a pipe that cracked from the expansion of frozen water.

Our featured article, "Protecting Shopping Malls against Fire: Could your mall have frozen pipes?" delves into the topic of frequent renovations in malls and how this can affect the fire protection system. A system that may have once been suitable for the environment may now run the risk of freezing in inclement weather due to a renovation. This article discusses how malls can avoid a frozen fire sprinkler disaster.

We hope this article encourages mall property managers to plan ahead to avoid costly springtime leaks.


Allen Metcalfe
President, F.E. Moran Fire Protection Northern Illinois

James Heinold
President, F.E. Moran Fire Protection National

frozen fire sprinkler pipes

Shopping malls go hand-in-hand with adaptation.  The evolution of the mall began with Trajan’s Market, built in Rome around 100-110 AD.  The concept of the mall evolved from an open air market to the modern day, enclosed mall, first built in Edina, Minnesota in 1956.  Shopping malls continue to change to adopt new retail ventures.  It is this continuous change that provides a backdrop to hidden areas that may unknowingly be prone to freezing fire protection sprinkler pipes.

What are common fire hazards in malls?

Malls have a greater than average chance of fire due to the transient population.  Each year, 1,710 fire events take place in the retail industry and 119 are caused by arson, according to the NFPA.  Other issues that stem from the transient population, including short-term employees, are smoking within the building and unsafe storage of combustible and flammable materials.

Read the complete article here.


sprinkler activation report

Sprinkler Extinguishes Lake Zurich Restaurant Fire – January 14, 2013
Kobe East restaurant in Lake Zurich experienced a fire event, but it was quickly extinguished by a single sprinkler head.

Sprinkler Limits Fire Damage in Rockford Apartment – January 28, 2013
A sprinkler system at a Rockford apartment building extinguished a fire that ignited in a stairwell of the five-story building.

Sprinklers Douse Fire at Fargo Business – February 1, 2013
A Fargo business that makes building materials had a fire event in a room with a work bench and staining supplies.  Fire sprinklers activated and the fire was extinguished.  In total, the damages added to less than $1,000.

Read the entire report here.

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