A Durango family was displaced Wednesday after a fire at their apartment complex, but fire officials say the blaze could have been much worse.
Karola Hanks, fire marshal for Durango Fire Protection District, said there was a report of a structure fire Wednesday afternoon at an apartment complex on Primrose Circle in Three Springs.
But by the time emergency responders arrived, a single fire sprinkler had put out the blaze. No one was injured, but the family in the unit is temporarily displaced and is being assisted by Red Cross, which is providing temporary housing.
Hanks stressed, however, how destructive the fire could have been, if not for a single sprinkler.
The apartment where the fire originated was the center unit in the complex, which has 12 units in total, plus there are adjacent apartment buildings that make up one large facility for affordable housing.
The family had been cooking in oil when a grease fire broke out, spreading onto the cabinets and then the ceiling. The sprinkler, which activates at temperatures around 155 degrees, went off and extinguished it.
“It was one of those situations where everything that was supposed to go right all fell into place,” Hanks said. “It was an awesome day.”
In the city of Durango, there’s no requirement for sprinkler systems in single-family homes, though more than 500 homes are equipped in the fire district’s jurisdiction, Hanks said.
Newly adopted codes, however, require apartment complexes with more than 16 units to have sprinkler systems. The complex in question had only 12 units, but because it’s used for affordable housing, it falls under different regulations.
“This was good news,” Hanks said. “It all worked like it was supposed to.”