A working sprinkler system at the Marlandwood East Senior Care Center in Temple saved the lives of countless elderly people and workers Thursday evening, according to Temple Fire and Rescue.
Firefighters were dispatched to the nursing home at 4:57 p.m. Thursday after receiving a report of a smoke alarm activation. When they got there, firefighters saw light smoke in one of the hallways and opened the door to a resident's bedroom to find heavy black smoke from the ceiling to the floor.
Temple Fire and Rescue Spokesperson Thomas Pechal said there was a small fire on the bed and a sprinkler head in the bedroom limited the flames from spreading elsewhere. Everyone safely evacuated, and the fire was quickly extinguished, Pechal said.
A fire investigation determined the fire was unintentional and caused by an electrical short, Pechal said. The sprinkler limited damage to the single room where the fire broke out.
According to a July 2017 report from the National Fire Protection Association, fire sprinklers were effective at controlling fires 96-percent of the time. The civilian death and injury rate was lower in properties with sprinklers than in properties with no sprinklers.
The fire was under control by 5:17 p.m. Thursday, and the scene was cleared by 6:39 p.m.