Group urges Racine School Board to include fire sprinklers at Mitchell

RACINE (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA-WI) is urging the Racine School Board to include fire sprinklers in the renovation of Mitchell Elementary School.

A significant portion of Mitchell Elementary was damaged last Thursday, February 27th when a fire caused the roof to collapse in the school's gym. According to fire officials, fire sprinklers were present in portions of the school, but not where the fire occurred.

The NFSA says the lack of fire sprinkler protection in parts of Mitchell Elementary also put Racine firefighters in harm's way.

Dan Gengler, a retired fire official who represents NFSA, said in a news release, "Had fire sprinklers been present where the fire began, the fire may have been extinguished or at least under control while firefighters responded, providing a much safer situation. After some minor mop-up and smoke ventilation over the weekend, it’s likely that classes would have been able to resume this week. We are lucky that none of the firefighters were injured."

Gengler also said, "Now is the time to retrofit a complete fire sprinkler system, as it will save money during this stage of renovation. The school board should make sure the entire building is safe, with equal fire protection for all occupants."

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