CLINTON, Iowa (KWQC) – On the way to an emergency, Clinton firefighters have what they need. Back at headquarters, however, Battalion Chief Jeff Chapman says an important tool is missing.
“Our own buildings aren’t as safe as they can be,” he said.
Two of the city’s three fire stations don’t have sprinkler systems. 103-year-old Lyons Fire Station, and Central Fire Station, which is more than 50 years old, rely on smoke detectors instead.
“Smoke detectors will be enough to give us early warning,” Chapman said. “I mean, it’s enough to save lives to give that early warning for us to get out of the building if this thing catches fire. What it doesn’t do is allow us a quick reaction in order to put that fire out.”
The newest codes say buildings where people are living require sprinklers. Central and Lyons would fall into that category, as firefighters stay there overnight. However, because the two stations haven’t been renovated, like the Chancy Fire Station has, Central and Lyons don’t have to have sprinklers. Even so, the fire department wants them to be there.
“We know that one or two sprinkler heads will hold a fire in check,” Chapman said. “We think the biggest thing is, number one, is safety. It’s always life safety with firefighters. Life safety of the people that work here and visit here. Number two is we’re protecting the property of the citizens of Clinton. We have millions of dollars in equipment that sit in these stations.”
He says having sprinklers at all of the fire stations would set a good example to other businesses.
“We want to be the ones that lead that charge,” Chapman said.
On Tuesday, city council unanimously approved the fire department’s request to apply for a grant that would cover 90 percent of the cost to get sprinklers at the two stations.