Sprinklers douse fire at National Archives

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

WASHINGTON--A small mechanical fire, caused by an overheated elevator motor in a machine room at the National Archives, was quickly extinguished on Nov. 14. The sprinkler system "did what it needed to do and put the fire out within 12 minutes," said Tim Edwards, facilities manager for the National Archives Building.
The National Archives is a repository for some five billion paper documents and records and millions of photographs, films, videos and recordings.
During his 20-year tenure, Edwards said the building's sprinkler system has only been activated by fire once before, in June of 2003.
Approximately 100 boxes containing records were damaged by water, but the contents of the boxes survived unscathed.
"The sprinklers have fast-acting 155-degree heads" that set off the sprinklers, Edwards said.
Edwards surmised that the building has had a sprinkler system in place for at least 30 years.