Motion sensors sniff smoke, minimizes N.J. jewelry store fire

The Right Response
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

UNION, N.J.--Motion sensors at Terrace Jewelers triggered an alarm when the sensors, installed by Supreme Security Systems, to prevent burglaries detected smoke from a flame of an unattended candle. The candle was on a table in the entrance of the store, which provoked a fire after hours during the first week in April.
The alarm signaled security company Supreme Security Systems' central station located in Union, N.J. Operators at the central station then contacted local authorities and store owner Wayne Ferdinand.
"When we received the alert, my central dispatched the police. Upon arrival, the police saw that it wasn't a break in, but a fire," said David Bitton, vice president and chief operating officer of Supreme Security. "Luckily this municipality was quick to respond."
The blaze was contained by local firefighters, he added.
Bitton said the installed motion detectors did detect the smoke but that type of equipment is not intended to replace fire and life safety devices.
Terrace Jewelers was closed for April to restore the damaged area, but reopened for business in the beginning of May.
Overall, the store endured minor cosmetic damage and the majority of the inventory remained intact and undamaged because the fire was contained to the front area of the store.
"The fire was a span of two sliding glass doors," said Ferdinand. "Our charm and baby gift display and a grandfather clock were damaged."
The store is in its fifth year of operation. "With this security company, we never have false alarms. It's nice to know if the alarm goes off, you know something is wrong," Ferdinand said.
Ferdinand said he wasn't sure if the candle that ignited the fire was blown out or not.
"It was a disaster, but in hindsight it could have easily been one hundred times worse," he said.
"We were pleased that we were able to help Terrace Jewelers safely endure the damage and continue on with business," Bitton said.
In this column, Security Systems News will feature a story where a security or life safety system did its job to save life or property. To submit a story for consideration, send an e-mail to