Sprinklers suppress Peterborough nursing home fire

  • Sprinklers suppressed a fire in the maintenance room of Pheasant Wood Center on Saturday.  —Courtesy photo

  •  Sprinklers suppressed a fire in the maintenance room of Pheasant Wood Center on Saturday.  Courtesy photo

  • Sprinklers suppressed a fire in the maintenance room of Pheasant Wood Center on Saturday.  —Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, February 26, 2018

An electrical fire at a Peterborough nursing home was brought under control by the facility’s sprinkler system.

“This is an example of how properly installed and maintained fire sprinkler systems can quickly contain or extinguish fires, significantly reducing the damage and impact from fires,” said Peterborough Fire Chief Ed Walker in a press release issued on Saturday. 

In an interview Monday, Walker said the system had done exactly what it was meant to do.

According to the release, on Saturday afternoon, at just before 1 p.m., crews were dispatched to Pheasant Wood Center on Pheasant Road for a fire alarm. 

Pheasant Wood Center offers short-term rehabilitation, as well as long-term care and Alzheimer's and dementia care, according to their website.

While they were en route, the fire department was notified that there was an odor of smoke on the first and second floors of the facility and that there was water running out from under the door the to maintenance room.

During the alarm, Pheasant Wood followed an “evacuate in place” procedure, said Walker. Because the building has a fire suppression system, instead of evacuating the up-to 100 residents outside, staff move them to secure areas after determining that the fire is not affecting their immediate area. 

Lori Mayer, a spokesperson for the Pheasant Wood Center, said in a statement to the Ledger-Transcript that no one was harmed as a result of the fire and all residents and staff members are safe.

“We want to thank the staff who acted so quickly when the fire arose and the fire department who responded promptly to remedy this problem,” wrote Mayer.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, only four minutes after the alarm sounding, they also detected the odor of smoke and found the fire sprinkler system operating.

“I was the first on there, and I went and looked in that door, and noticed no heat or flames,” said Walker, who said the fire had been extinguished by the sprinklers. 

The sprinkler system had extinguished a fire in the maintenance room, according to Walker. Crews shut down the sprinkler system and assisted with the removal of smoke from the first and second floors and the water from the first floor, which took about 45 minutes.

The fire was determined to be accidental, caused by an electric fan that was used to cool the room caught fire and ignited other nearby combustibles, according to Walker. The fire was contained by a single sprinkler head, limiting the damage to the maintenance room.

The fire and water damage caused about $3,000 in damages. None of the facilities residents or core operations were impacted by the fire. Walker said the most significant disruption that will be caused by the incident is that the fire  damaged the system through which residents receive their television service. 

Peterborough crews were assisted on scene by the Peterborough police. The Jaffrey and Hancock Fire Departments were initially dispatched, but the request for aid was canceled once it had been determined the fire was out. 


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.