Minimal damage at Blenheim Canadian Tire Store because of automatic sprinkler system. Nov 24, 2017. (Photo courtesy of CKFES)

UPDATE: Blenheim Canadian Tire Fire Ruled ‘Accidental’

There is still no word on how extensive the damage is after a fire broke out at the Canadian Tire store in Blenheim on Thursday morning.

According to a spokesperson for the CK fire department, the damage estimate is still under review “due to the complexities of smoke and water damage.”  The investigation continues but Chatham-Kent fire officials are confident it was an accident.

The fire started in the middle of the store and as firefighters began to extinguish the blaze, the sprinkler system discharged and contained the fire.

“This incident has proven once again that fire suppression systems such as sprinklers provide another layer of defense against the dangers of fire,” says Assistant Chief Chris Case.  “The activation of the system in this case managed to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading.  Systems such as these protect lives and livelihoods.”

The fire department says automatic sprinkler systems have sustained an enviable record of protecting life and property for over 100 years.  Yet, there are still common misunderstandings about the operation and effectiveness of automatic fire sprinkler systems.

“A number of people believe that water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage or that when a fire occurs every sprinkler head goes off,” explains Public Educator, Whitney Burk.  “This is not the case as water damage from a building sprinkler system is less severe than the damage caused by a fire that is able to spread and sprinkler heads are individually activated by temperature.”