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RE: Article from the Chicago Sun-Times

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I agree sprinklers are generally good, but they can cause their own
problems.  After Loma Prieta, NFPA 13 changed the installation requirements.
Their last update is the NFPA 13 - 2002.  It has come a long way.  But there
are a ton of existing installations that do not meet the newer requirements.

The other water damage according to the BOMA survey was due to:
"Water supply / drain lines" 8%
"HVAC"  17%

I'm keeping my computer too;-)

Harold O. Sprague

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 1:11 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: Article from the Chicago Sun-Times


Don't disagree...but then the other 25% of water damage was due to what?
A sunami?  Not likely.  How much of it was due to leaks in cold water or
hot water supply lines that served rest rooms and other locations that use
water?  Does that mean that it is reasonable to argue that we should not
have toilets in buildings cause in an earthquake the water supply lines
might rupture or leak and damage building contents?  Maybe we should not
have natural gas lines to supply gas to heat buildings and run stoves
since they might rupture and cause fires, which will mean that water might
have to be used to put out those fires resulting in damage to buidling

I thought the notion that sprinklers were bad because they cause damage to
be absurd.  There are a LOT of benefitial things in buildings that can
cause damage.  Not to mention the fact that the comment that I thought was
absurd was in the context of when sprinklers "worked" (i.e. activated to
put out, contain, or prevent fire).

Maybe I should get rid of my computer because it might over heat and cause
a fire in my house?  But, then on the positive side, my house does not
have fire sprinklers, so they can't cause water damage (although I am sure
the fire fighters from the fire station about 500 yards down the road will
supply enough water from the hydrant that is about 50 yards from the house
to cause more than enough damage, not to mention the smoke and actual fire
damage)!  ;-)


Ypsilanti, MI

On Wed, 10 Sep 2003, Sprague, Harold O. wrote:

> Scott,
> Even without a fire the sprinklers can cause damage.  Consider the Loma
> Prieta earthquake of 1989.  According to a BOMA survey of buildings in the
> damaged area only 9% reported structural damage 86% suffered "some form of
> damage".  Of the nonstructural damage 71% was due to water.  75% of the
> water damage was due to leaks in the fire sprinklers.
> An additional consequence was the previously encapsulated asbestos in some
> buildings became un-encapsulated due to the water exposure and required an
> extensive and time consuming asbestos abatement.
> Regards,
> Harold O. Sprague
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 12:29 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: Article from the Chicago Sun-Times
> Daryl:
> I agree 100%.  My sarcasm was aimed at the inane comment about fire
> sprinklers "completely ruining" contents of the building.  First of all,
> DUH!  But, my point is that even without fire sprinklers the contents of
> the buildings are more than likely going to be ruined by water as the that
> is PRECISELY what the firefighters use to put out fire.  Thus, if someone
> is going to complain about their things being ruined by water (either due
> to sprinklers or firefighters), then they should realize that their only
> other option is to get out the hotdogs and marshmellows and have a nice,
> non-healthy meal while their building burns down.
> In otherwords, the notion that ONLY because there are fire sprinklers in
> the building the contents will be ruined by water is absurd (unless
> someone has come up with a way to fight fires without water or someother
> substance that will do just as much damage).
> Regards,
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
> On Wed, 10 Sep 2003, Daryl Richardson wrote:
> > Scott,
> >
> >         Having only recently completed the rehabilitation of a 33 suite
> fire
> > damaged building I can confirm, from personal experience, that the water
> > damage IS more extensive than the fire damage.  But with fire, as with
> > earthquake, the main aim is to prevent PEOPLE damage; buildings (except
> for
> > rare historical sites) can always be replaced with the insurance money
> > most cases even when there isn't any insurance there is money).
> >
> >         As an example on how extensive water dammage can be, "The
> > Channel" did a television documentary three or four years ago dealing
> the
> > restoration of Windsor Castle, in England.  If you're interested, I
> > recommend finding it.  What the restorers of Windsor Castle found in
> > restoration we found in our restoration.  Only the magnitude (and, of
> course
> > the amount of money available) was different.  In our case, only the
> > masonry components remained intact; of the remainder, only the
> > components could be salvaged and restored; all of the non structural
> > components had to be completely removed.  If the building wasn't of (at
> least
> > some) historical significance the whole thing would have been converted
> into a
> > parking lot.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > H. Daryl Richardson
> >
> > Scott Maxwell wrote:
> >
> > > Stan:
> > >
> > > </sarcasm on>
> > >
> > > So then, when your non-fire sprinkled building catches fire are you
> going
> > > to stand outside it and politely ask the firefighters to just "wish"
> > > fire out rather than hook their lines up to fire hydrants and put it
> > > with water?  If so, then I am sure you will enjoy your wonderful,
> > > smoldering pile of ash that was your building!
> > >
> > > In otherwords, while I certainly no fire expert, I do seem to recall
> that
> > > the common way to put out fires (by way of sprinkler system _OR_
> > > firefighter) is to use water.  Thus, the odds are that whether or not
> your
> > > building has a sprinkler system, many things in the building will be
> > > "completely ruined" by water as that is what the firefighters tend to
> > > ALWAYS use to put said fire out.  Of course, we could prevent your
> things
> > > from being ruined by water by not putting the fire out...but then more
> > > than likely fire would ruin them instead, but maybe you might find
> > > more acceptable.
> > >
> > > </sarcasm off>
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > >
> > > Scott
> > > Ypsilanti, MI
> > >
> > > On Wed, 10 Sep 2003, Stanley E Scholl wrote:
> > >
> > > > Another factor not mentioned is that when fire sprinklers do work,
> > > > contents and the interior walls, ceiling and many other parts of the
> > > > building are usually completely ruined by the water damage.
> > > >
> > > > Stan Scholl, P.E.
> > > > Laguna Beach, CA

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