Church celebrates install with shower

Thursday, June 1, 2006

PHILADELPHIA--With the first phase of its new fire prevention system installed by Oliver Sprinkler Company, the Christ Church tested its water curtain system with a "cascading wave of water," at an April 22 event, said Don Smith, executive director of the Christ Church Preservation Trust.
"Because the church is such a cherished part of the community, we invited parishioners, the community and our supporters to come in for the day," he said. "We had a talk by government officials and members of the foundation and then we went outside for the demonstration," he said.
The water "just poured down" the 252-year old steeple, onto 150 onlookers outfitted with special commemorative umbrellas for the event. It also happened to be raining. "We added to God's water," Smith said.
The first phase of the project (see the February issue of Security Systems News) protects the steeple and tower. Fundraising is ongoing for the second phase, which will be installed in early 2008.
It will protect the entire body of the church, all of the back area, and will involve the installation of sprinklers inside the steeple.
The preservation trust commissioned a study which identified fire prevention as the "single most important preservation task" for this church, where the American Episcopal church started, Benjamin Franklin helped fundraise for the steeple and important historical figures such as George Washington worshipped.
"The water curtain test was a great event," said David Oliver, president of Oliver Sprinkler Company, based in King of Prussia, Pa.