Museum Security Network

Old product blamed in sprinkler misfire

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fire officials still aren’t sure why a fire sprinkler malfunctioned at the State Historical Society of Missouri last month, although they have deemed the sprinkler head is a product no longer being produced.

The faulty sprinkler head was manufactured by Simplex-Grinnell in the mid-1970s and was designed to activate when exposed to excessive heat. The Columbia Fire Department does not believe the sprinkler was exposed to heat on Sept. 30, when it activated and soaked multiple backup copies of state documents at Ellis Library.

The University of Missouri has identified 21 additional sprinklers of this model in the society’s leased space at the library. Administrators are in the process of replacing those sprinkler heads.

According to the fire department, a fire sprinkler head failure is extremely rare.

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