Teen girl blocked by snow, saved by sprinkler in garage fire

AP News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2015 10:40 PM

DERRY, N.H. (AP) — A fire in a garage almost trapped a teenage girl inside an adjoining house after one of her exits was blocked by snow, but a sprinkler head deployed, buying enough time for her to scamper out the other exit to safety, firefighters said.

Firefighters, who had been called by neighbors, arrived Monday evening to find flames engulfing the two-car garage and beginning to spread into the 2 1/2-story wood-frame home in Derry. The garage collapsed with big parts of the roof intact, suppressing the fire below the roof and making it more difficult to put out the flames, firefighters said.

A 14-year-old girl was home at the time of the fire. The home was protected by a sprinkler system, and one sprinkler head between the garage and the home was activated, unleashing water onto the flames and preventing most of the fire from spreading to the house, firefighters said.

The girl was in the home's basement, but the "secondary exit out of the basement was blocked by snow," firefighters said.

The girl, aided by the sprinkler, scrambled out of the basement's primary exit and made it out through the home's front door, firefighters said. Without the sprinkler system, they said, the fire would have blocked her exit.

No injuries were reported in the fire, whose cause hadn't been determined. Firefighters found and rescued a dog, which was uninjured.

The sprinkler system ran out of water while firefighting crews used their hoses. Part of the fire extended into the home's attic and the roof of a porch.

The home's living area was damaged by smoke and water and will be uninhabitable until it's professionally cleaned, firefighters said. The garage was destroyed.

The fire loss, including the garage's contents, was estimated to be $150,000.