Mock Dorm Fire Illustrates Importance of Sprinklers

Fraternities, sororities and private dormitories in the state may soon be forced to install fire sprinkler systems on every floor.

6 years ago the legislature put rules in place for UW System dorms.

To show what a difference they can make, the Madison Fire Department ignited two fires in two different mock dorm rooms Tuesday on State Street.

Within 55 seconds, the sprinkler system put out one fire.

Just 20 seconds later, the room without the sprinkler was engulfed in flames.

"We need to impress upon the state Assembly the power of fire and the destruction of fire," explains Dan Gengler, the Midwest Regional Manager of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, "And then to let them know there is an answer in the form of fire sprinklers."

Dana Christmas McCain, a victim of a campus fire in New Jersey back in 2000, says, "When they see me, it's a reality. It's not made up, all the scars that are on my face, they're real."

McCain testified before the Committee on Colleges and Universities Tuesday as part of a public hearing on a proposed bill that would add sprinkler requirements for other institutions and some student residential facilities.

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