Sprinkler system installed in home of Charleston 9 family
By Ava Wilhiteawilhite@abcnews4.com
Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) Yellow tape is all that remains from a night in January when the Benke family home caught on fire.
"Capt. Benke was one of the Charleston 9, who unfortunately perished in the Sofa Super Store fire. His family was residing here at the time of the incident, so obviously it became a much more of a substantial incident to the fire service community," said Charleston Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh.
He says after the fire, their tight-knit community came together to figure out how to assist the family.
"We asked, 'How can we help make them safe?' and the answer was simple: residential fire sprinklers. It's like having a firefighter in your home 24-7," said Julazadeh.
Firefighters also came to watch and learn how the systems are installed.
"The installation is done by the plumber using our design," said Charlie Stewart, the CEO of Phoenix Distributing.
He says the sprinklers are activated by heat. Then the system pumps out eight gallons of water per minute. The price tag is $2 per square foot.
"Fire sprinklers save lives. Putting a sprinkler head over the children's beds, that's what's important at the end of the day," said Stewart.
A fundraiser covered the costs of the system for the Benke home. It is not known when the family will be back in their house.