From The Archives: St. Sprinkler Save!
Here is my favorite sprinkler “save story.” The event happened at 280 Ravoux Street in Saint Paul. The building is a PHA high-rise, and was the last of the 16 PHA high-rise buildings in the city to be retrofitted with fire sprinklers. The final sprinkler inspection was completed, and the system was “signed off” on Friday, July 13, 2012. A kitchen fire the very next morning was extinguished with just $500 of damage by a single sprinkle head. The picture is priceless! As the Fire Chief of the City at the time, I had the pleasure of hosting an award ceremony for PHA Executive Director, Jon Gutzmann and his staff, and Scott Futrell of Futrell Fire Consult and Design, who worked with the Saint Paul PHA for over 20 years to design and install the sprinkler systems for the PHA high-rise buildings.
Jon Gutzmann will tell you that retrofit successes are all about partnerships and setting the “right” priorities. He remains the PHA Executive Director in Saint Paul and remains extremely proud of building safe and affordable housing in Saint Paul. Retrofit successes are about choosing the right priorities, but that takes great leadership. Jon and Scott were leaders that set the example for what safe, affordable housing can be. Let’s all work together to help other leaders find the strategies that will result in shining retrofit success stories in their communities!