By Laura Walker
A homemade sprinkler device apparently saved the home of John and Nancy Harvey on Ballinger Road, according to the Montezuma Fire Department officials.
At 11:37 a.m. Sunday, firefighters received a call about a fire in a water heater that spread in the trailer home.
St. Marys Township Fire Department was put on standby, since the close proximity of other trailers makes them easy to catch fire.
As Montezuma firefighters arrived, they reported no sign of smoke coming from the exterior of the home. Luckily for the neighbors in Cottonwood mobile home park, the Harvey trailer was equipped with a sprinkler system. This system was installed when the home was built in the late 1980s, according to John Harvey. It was installed over the gas appliances only.
The Harveys came home to see water running out across the patio and their home filled with smoke. John Harvey turned down the furnace thermostat and turned off the gas as his wife dialed 911. No one was in the home. There was a battle of fire versus sprinkler system inside the home, while the Harveys had been away, they said. The sprinkler won, leaving short work for the fire department.
Harvey did the right thing by calling the fire department, even though he had a sprinkler system, local fire officials said. In a commercial setting, where sprinklers are part of the building code, this is exactly what happens. The fire starts, the sprinkler starts and the fire department is automatically called.
In this case, the Harveys' sprinkler saved their home, neighbors' homes and left only a small area of water damage.
"It worked great, I think," John Harvey said this morning. "We have a new furnace on order, have water damage to clean up and the insurance adjuster will be out. As long as there are no mold problems, we will be all right."
Editor's note: Laura Walker is a volunteer firefighter on the Montezuma Fire Department.