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#72984 12/14/06 06:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 391
BigJohn Offline OP
We had one today that I figured ya'll might appreciate:

We're working in a biotech company in Cambridge. Their buildings are in a constant state of renovation because of the ever-changing requirements for their labs.

I was working in one of their mechanical rooms where just finished retrofitting a sprinkler system into the ceiling, and there was a sheet-rock guy patching around one of the sprinkler heads.

This is apparently some mission-critical machinery and of course the GC wanted everything done yesterday. I'm doing my thing, not really paying attention to my surroundings, when it dawns on me that I've been hearing a noise like a hair-dryer for a couple minutes now.

"What the heck is that?"

I look up and I see the sheet-rock guy: In an effort to make the ceiling paintable faster, he has ingeniously decided to speed-dry the joint-compound with a heat gun... which he has aimed directly at the red-bulb sprinkler head.

I got as far as "Hey, buddy-!"


The guy catches the spray full in the face, comes sailing down off the ladder, practically lands on me and we're both up and running towards the door.

I've never been in the sprinkler room for this building, have no idea where it is, and in the ensuing evacuation caused by the fire alarm, can't find a single sole who might know how to shut down the system!

I run up to the guard station but these are the same yokels who, when I needed a key to an emergency electrical room, had me spell "electrical" four times and immediately got on the radio to broadcast that I needed the key for the "emergency record room". There's no help there.

I meet my foreman pushing his way through the exit traffic at the front door. We high-tail it through the basement to the sprinkler pump room and close every major valve we see.

At this point that head had been discharging about 20 gpm for the last six or seven minutes. By the time we get back to the lobby there's water streaming down from the decorative inlaid granite on the mezzanine (this was a second floor mechanical room) and landing on their plush carpeting and patent leather chairs.

I'm not sure what happened to that poor sheet-rocker, but thanks to the GC constantly rushing everything they have water damage to repair on top of their original renovation.
"Is it done yet?"
"No, and it won't be any time soon!"

Just another day in paradise.


[This message has been edited by BigJohn (edited 12-14-2006).]

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
Oh my, sure hope the rocker is covered for water damage, that could add up to more then the entire job cost, and the rocker may have one of those $800 liability policies that covers next to nothing.

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 13
Must have seemed like a good idea at the time!

John Erickson
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
Man - what a winner! HEAT GUN?!

Fix-all or hot mud sets in minutes... Have a coffee break and finish it...

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 101
I thought that I had seen this originally on this site somewhere, but couldn't find it. So here is a link to the story (again maybe). Read the story and click through the pages, it starts to get really interesting at picture #4. This is a classic!

[This message has been edited by jraef (edited 12-15-2006).]

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 33
as bad as that is....i think i can top it. in october we were working an outage at an ethanol plant, and one of our jobs was to install a desuperheater spray nozzle in an 8inch 200 proof alcohol line in the distill side of the plant. the plant engineers decided the best place to put the atomizer in the line just happened to be about 2 inches from a sprinkler line and they said "just bend it out of the way".... which actually worked out quite well, until the rope holding the pipe slipped and snapped the head off...needless to say we all had a good shower that morning and that half of the plant never looked so clean


Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
I was in a halon dump once, no fire, just a $60,000 accident. It definately stirs up the dust

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 110
The store were I work is in a mall, so all sprinkler head locations must be re-used if they aren't in a wall. Which is why we have a 200 degree sprinkler in our metal-wall ice cream freezer (at -10 degrees). I can see it now-- head gets bumped, coats the entire 80sf in ice.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
I guess I should confess that I made my first mistake on a job this morning barely 10 minutes after starting work, and it did sort-of involve a heat-gun, although only indirectly.

I'd just made a lovely offset in some PVC conduit with the heat, got the set back just right for the change in wall level, aligned perfectly on the dry fit. Then I cemented the offset into the end of the tee-box.........Backwards! [Linked Image]

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 124
I've seen firemen carrying small wooden wedges on their firehats where they can grab them quickly and push them into the sprikler head and close it off again...worth knowing a little about when you are working around the heads.

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