Thursday, April 18, 2019

Philadelphia's historic Christ Church tests its fire sprinkler system ahead of renovations

From Philadelphia-

Should a fire ever spark on the roof of the historic Christ Church in Philadelphia's Old City, it is prepared to mimic the Old Testament's account of Noah's Ark, when "all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened."

The building is equipped with an "open headed deluge" sprinkler system, which when triggered creates an artificial rainstorm on the outside of the building.

The wooden steeple, built in 1754, has about 30 sprinkler heads installed on its surface. In the event of a fire, a dedicated water pump in the basement ramps up, sending potentially thousands of gallons of water up 200 feet, shooting out each nozzle at about 100 psi.

"Deluge" is no understatement. Water rains down hard and fast.  Similar sprinkler systems are often used on industrial buildings.

"You see it a lot in chemical [buildings], like Ashland Chemical on Columbus Avenue," said Mike McGovern, of Oliver Fire Protection, which installed this system. "Things where they want full protection right away."

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