by Eric T. McMullen
Deputy Fire Marshal, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
As a new construction Deputy Fire Marshal with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue in Oregon, I have been involved in many projects that included offering fire sprinklers as a trade-up for various development difficulties. Although we could share many success stories with you, I would like to focus on one particular case.
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue is a large fire protection district that serves the cities of Beaverton, Durham, King City, Sherwood, Rivergrove, Tigard, Tualatin, Wilsonville, and portions of Hillsboro and unincorporated areas in Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah Counties. In addition, the fire district has contracted to provide fire and medical services to the cities of West Linn and Oregon City.
During the planning process of a large subdivision called Erickson Heights, in the city of Tigard, we discovered several streets that would have grades exceeding our maximum standards. Through cooperation with the Tigard Building Department and our office, home fire sprinklers were offered as a trade-up and accepted by the developer. I provided the developer with a list of the specific homes to be sprinklered due to excessive grade and the project proceeded. Not long after construction of the homes began, to my surprise, the developer contacted us and indicated that they had decided to install fire sprinklers in all of the homes in the subdivision.
Subsequently, during construction, one of the homes experienced a fire in a garage. Luckily, the door from the garage to the living space of the home had been left open. Although the home was not finished, the fire sprinkler installation had been completed and a single sprinkler activated and the fire was extinguished prior to the arrival of our fire crews.