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Covington Fire Dept. receives grant for controlled burn

The Covington Fire Department douses the fire ignited in this structure at the Newton College and Career Academy Friday morning, demonstrating how quickly a home without a home sprinkler system or smoke alarm could become engulfed in flames in the event of a fire. The fire department was given a $1,500 grant from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition to demonstrate the importance of installing a sprinkler system. Students from the Career Academy helped build the two structures for the controlled burn. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

The Covington Fire Department douses the fire ignited in this structure at the Newton College and Career Academy Friday morning, demonstrating how quickly a home without a home sprinkler system or smoke alarm could become engulfed in flames in the event of a fire. The fire department was given a $1,500 grant from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition to demonstrate the importance of installing a sprinkler system. Students from the Career Academy helped build the two structures for the controlled burn. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

COVINGTON — Using an experimental controlled burn on Friday, the Covington Fire Department showed the importance of having a home sprinkler system installed.

Through a grant program with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the fire department was given $1,500 to build two structures – one without a sprinkler system or smoke alarm and another equipped with both.

The structures were built by the construction class at the Newton College and Career Academy. The Salvation Army donated two couches, television stands and televisions to equip the structures to resemble living rooms. On Friday, the fire department conducted the controlled burn to demonstrate to the students how much damage a fire can cause in just a few minutes.

Within four minutes of a fire being started, the structure without a sprinkler installed was fully consumed in flames. But in the structure equipped to warn if there’s a fire, it took about 30 seconds for the smoke alarm to ring and less than two minutes for the sprinklers to be set off, reducing the fire to smoke.

“The home sprinkler system isn’t expected to completely stop the fire, but instead give an escape plan for the people inside,” Covington Fire Department Fire Educator Jonathan Fuqua said. “We wanted to conduct this as a trial run before our Family Fun Night in October when we will give a larger presentation. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition awards these grants because they want to see results. It gives us the opportunity to educate the important of fire safety too.”