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Sioux Falls Fire Station Sprinkler Shortage

August 8, 2014, 4:55 PM by Perry Groten

Sioux Falls Fire Station Sprinkler Shortage

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue wants to practice what it preaches when it comes to additional fire protection measures. Fire Rescue is asking the city for additional funding for upgrades to half of its fire stations because they don't have sprinkler systems. Firefighters say the stations are still safe, but they want to present a consistent message to the public about the importance of sprinkler systems. 

Fire Station One at Ninth Street and Minnesota Avenue is one of five Sioux Falls stations that don't have sprinkler systems. They were built long before the City required sprinklers for certain types of buildings, like industrial plants and apartment complexes. The fire stations aren't required to have sprinklers, but Fire Rescue says retrofitting them with sprinklers is the right course of action. But the proposed fixes won't be so easy at this historic landmark.

Fire Station One in downtown Sioux Falls is one of city's busiest.

"The most I ran was 16 calls a day," firefighter Matt Douglas said.

Station One is also the City's oldest.

"It's kind of nice to think back on all the guys that have worked here over the years," Douglas said.

Now, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue wants to update this 102-year-old fire hall with a 21st-century sprinkler system. The station already has smoke and heat detectors. But Fire Rescue says not having sprinklers inside sends a mixed message.

"So it would seem kind of not very consistent if we promoted sprinkler systems but then didn't use them in our buildings," Sioux Falls Fire Marshal Dean Lanier said.

Station One firefighters who live here, as well as work here, say they feel safe even without sprinklers. They're always careful in the kitchen because cooking fires are the most common type of fire in Sioux Falls.

"Any call that comes out, we make sure that everything's shut off before we leave," Douglas said.

But installing a sprinkler system here at old Fire Station One will be a challenge because it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A designation that limits the amount of remodeling that can take place here.

"You have to keep the character of the building without doing any damage to the building and that's a tough needle to thread," Lanier said.

Fire Rescue hopes this century-old building can tap into the fountain of youth with a sprinkler system.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue has already retro-fitted its 37th & Minnesota headquarters with sprinklers.

Their brand-new building, going up in northwest Sioux Falls will also have sprinklers. Fire Station 11 is expected to be completed later this year and fully-staffed by spring.

Fire Stations Without Sprinkler System

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