WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A sprinkler head looks small, but Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney says its impact could be huge.
"If there was a fire in this room right now, the temperature got to 135 degrees and the sprinkler head was up there, within one to four minutes that sprinkler head will go off and control the fire 96 percent of the time," explained Chief Delaney.
Over the next 18 months, these sprinkler heads will be part of a new system installed in all 160 apartments inside the Lincoln Plaza high-rise in the city.
"Last month, the board of directors voted to approve a contract with D & M Construction out of Dunmore for $2,018,000 to install a sprinkler system here at Lincoln Plaza. And this is the largest capital improvement project that the Housing Authority has undertaken," said Judith Kosloski, the executive director of the Wilkes-Barre Housing Authority.
In December 2017, there was a fire on the fifth floor of this building. Two residents died. Currently, the building has a smoke detection system that alerts first responders to an emergency through a third-party system.
"From that point, it's sent to Luzerne County 911. Luzerne County 911 call taker receives the call, gives that information to the dispatcher. The dispatcher at 911 then sends a signal to the Wilkes-Barre City Fire Department," explained Delaney.
Firefighters then have to put on gear, get to the building, and climb several floors with hoses to put out the flames like they did back in 2017.
Chief Delaney says this new system aims to prevent another tragedy by working to extinguish the fire in just minutes. That makes residents feel more at ease.
"Oh, yeah, yeah, definitely. Because I'm on the fifth floor where they had that fire, and they did have casualty. So, I know I'm never going to have to worry, but I don't worry about fire because I'm careful, but there are a lot of elderly people here, so I'm sure they're going to feel safe," said JoAnne Wade, who has lived in the high-rise for four years.
The Housing Authority tells Newswatch 16 construction will start soon and will be completed at some point next year.
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