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Firefighters Suppress Blaze In Bryce Canyon Lodge

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avatar Firefighters Suppress Blaze In Bryce Canyon Lodge
November 05, 2009 11:59AM
Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)
Firefighters Suppress Blaze In Bryce Canyon Lodge

Rangers received a report of smoke and flames issuing from Bryce Canyon Lodge – a National Historic Landmark – just after 5 p.m. on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 28th. The park’s fire company and Tropic Volunteer Fire Department responded. The sprinkler system in the affected area was engaged, with one sprinkler head spraying water on the fire. Vertical ventilation was conducted and the fire was extinguished. The fire was limited to the attic above the boiler room that provides heat to half the lodge. Although it had recently been inspected and cleared as safe to operate, investigation revealed that a short section of the chimney in the attic was of single wall construction, that it was surrounded by insulation, and that it was within two inches of the wood construction. Due to recent low temperatures, the boiler had been in continuous operation. The investigation revealed that flame did not contact the roof, but that the fire was started by heat radiation. The sprinkler system is inspected biannually. The system managed to contain the fire to the area of origin, preventing extension into the rest of the historic structure. After the fire was suppressed, the sprinklers were taken off line. The lodge was put on a 24-hour fire watch, and the alarm system was restored for advanced notification. The protection systems were restored on the following day with a service call from fire protection specialists. The investigation was completed by a trained fire investigator. Inspection of the area showed no flame impingement outside the chimney, and the resulting report confirmed it was a radiant heat start. Single wall chimney construction is not adequate for such a unit and will be replaced with triple wall chimney. The fuel oil fired boiler was scheduled to be replaced (pre-fire) on November 3rd with a propane fired boiler. No changes have been made to those plans. The lodge was scheduled to close for the season after breakfast on November 1st. The lodge closed early and reservations were transferred to local hotels. As of October 30th, no food service or sleeping accommodations are being considered. Additional damage has been sustained to the structure due to frozen water pipes as a result of taking the boiler off line and not being able to drain the system properly.
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