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Athens man saved by firefighters, alarm and sprinkler system

Columbia Brookside Classic Residences

By Joe Johnson

A man was treated for smoke inhalation after his home at Columbia Brookside Classic Residences caught fire Sunday night.

The Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Serices Department responded to a 10:23 p.m. fire alarm activation from the apartment at 501 Summerbrook Circle.

The first arriving units found water flowing through the bottom of the apartment’s front door, according to fire Lt. Nate Moss.

“They could also see through the windows that smoke had banked down from the ceiling and had filled the apartment,” Moss said. The firefighters forced entry to the apartment after no one responded to them pounding on the door, he said.

“When inside, the firefighters encountered heavy smoke conditions and could see that a sprinkler head was actively flowing water,” Moss said. “They rapidly searched the apartment for residents and found a man lying unconscious on a bed. He was quickly brought out of the apartment and turned over to other firefighting crews on scene that treated him for smoke inhalation and prepared him for transport to a local hospital by National EMS. No other occupants were located inside the apartment.”

When searching for the source of the fire, Moss said firefighters found that the stove was on and it appeared that food had burned and caught the cabinetry above the stove on fire.

The sprinkler above the stove had extinguished the fire, and firefighters placed wedges into the sprinkler to stop the water flow prior to assisting maintenance personnel with cleanup efforts, the fire official said.

“We would like for the community to know that the positive outcome of this fire had a great deal to do with the diligence of the firefighting crews as well as the fire detection and prevention measures that were in place in this residence,” Moss said.

“The fire alarm system notified emergency responders of the fire, the sprinkler put out the fire, and our firefighters made the search and treatment for the resident its top priority,” Moss said. “This emphasizes the need that no shortcuts should ever be taken when it comes to protecting lives and property. That speaks for our firefighting equipment, our training, the installation and maintenance of fire protection systems, and adherence to fire and life safety codes.”

Fire officials encourage community members to make sure that all fire protection systems that are currently in place in residences and businesses are properly maintained, up to date, and tested according to manufacturer recommendations.

For more information, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s fire protection technology page at:

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