Report: Sprinklers turned off during California mall fire
December 18th, 2010
03:43 AM ET

Report: Sprinklers turned off during California mall fire

A sprinkler system in a California mall was turned off for more than an hour during a fire that devastated a California mall, a new report states.

The huge blaze occurred at the Westfield Galleria in Roseville, California, on October 21.

Roseville police and fire officials released a report Friday about the incident, which began when a man walked into a video game store and announced he had a weapon and was carrying a backpack that smelled of kerosene. The man was later identified as 23-year-old Alexander Piggee.

Roseville police and fire departments rushed to the scene, but both stalled in entering the mall because of the possibility that the suspect may have had a bomb, the report said.

The report also said a maintenance worker at the mall shut off the sprinkler system in the section of the mall where the fire started for 71 minutes.

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Filed under: California
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. joefcfd

    Thank you corncop for setting the record straight on detection and suppression systems. For those not in-the-know, fire alarm systems are for detection and occupant notification only-i.e., for people to get out when there's a problem. The sprinkler system CAN be part of the alarm system but doesn't have to be. Typically a sprinkler head will pop when the fire gets hot enough. A sprinkler system is designed to control and/or extinguish a fire (in a typical fire scenario). This was probably a typical scenario. If the sprinkler system is working, this fire does minimal fire, smoke and water damage.

    December 18, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. steeve-o

    My best possible guess:

    The mall maintanence worker ate some peyote the night before, and right after the "UPS guy" told him to turn off the sprinklers, the "UPS guy" turned back into a garbage can.

    December 18, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. dave in Ohio

    Is it possible that the person actually thought that he was turning the sprinklers ON? Just sayin.....

    December 18, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    There is a Fire Dept. Connection at the exterior of the building. This is intended to be supplied with water from a fire apparatus to supplement the water in the sprinkler system.

    December 18, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Director of Security

    The only real reason to have closed the riser is for maintenance. Could be a number of reasons. The line may have been leaking. They may have had to drain off the system. If any of you have ever seen the water that comes out of those systems, it can sit for months or even a year at a time in the line stagnet and will start to rust through the lines from the inside so they must be drained from time to time. Or the worker could have been in on it with the perp and closed the riser to that section of the system. No telling but with the riser closed for legit reasons, security should have been notified and had a fire watch posted in the effected area.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. kim

    I guess they didnt pay enough money for that employee to keep the sprinklers on dang thats awful. Maybe they thought they get a sale.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. mark in las vegas

    Malls aren't making money anymore. Sounds like there's more than meets the eye here.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chris S

    They could have been testing or cleaning a backflow preventer on that line which would require them to shut the water down as well.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jason Asselin - Iron Mountain, MI

    During the situation the POLICE told him to shut the sprinklers down, that is what ALL the news reported that day.. That the Police were the one responsible for having it turned off. So now the Police are totally denying that they ever asked for it to be turned off. Why would they admit to be the cause for the entire Mall burning down? Amazing that CNN didn't pull out the original articles to explain this story.. POINT- They didn't want their AMMO to get wet, they were "Hunting" this guy down.. If the sprinklers were going off, their weapons might not work.. THAT WAS THE ORIGINAL ASSUMPTION!!

    December 18, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ed Bailey

    Hi, I'm forrest gumps cousin, Ed Bailey. I really am from Alabama!!! I was a maintenance guru at the roach coach motel for humans formerly called granite hills. Located in salt lake preventing the state from doing what was proper and condemning the death trap I learned an awful lot about the dangers of our governments gross negligence in every form of code enforcement to protect the people.Every day your LIFE is in the hands of highly paid professionals that couldn't hold a candle to FORREST GUMP.Stupid ia as stupid does, the truth will never be known unless the man that ordered the jfk hit ordered the spriklers off also AMD he talks.if the Engineer did it out of wedlock, I'm unemployed! Stupid is as stupid does!!!!!!!!!

    December 18, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ed Bailey

    Thought of the day.Maybe the 6. Million dollar man, mr dave caulder had a daughter shopping for him!

    December 18, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Valerie

    This article doesn't really explain what happened. I live 2 minutes from the mall & there was smoke everywhere. The dude walked into the GameStop, waved a gun, and started spewing irrational speech. Not sure how he set the fire but they should NOT have turned off the sprinklers bc the fire spread and when the fire dept came to extinguish it, their hoses ended up flooding the mall with 2 inches of water. THAT'S where the real damage happened. Only half of the mall is open right now. They still have a Santa though! 🙂 (And if you prob guessed it, the suspect was mentally unstable.)

    December 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ed Bailey

    A dry sprinkler system? Only in america.And here we are trying to rule the world. A hundred mollion dollars worth of equipment uses ELECTRICITY. That never causes fires right! People are there right! Water on electrical fires is not funny. Powder or foam will work. Powder being VERY messy, foam being slightly less dangerous than water. Halon! Perfect for electrical fires but the personnel might have a small beef. Dry standpipes are a new one on me, possible water leak. Mirrors keep away possible vampiires.ALWAYS BE PREPARED! Except for a fire!

    December 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • joefcfd


      December 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sanity

      Not sure what your point is here but maybe this will help:
      There are 2 types of fire sprinkler system designs. "wet" and "dry". Both systems are built the same and function the same with one major exception: Wet systems all the pipes are charged with water and a popped head immediately releases water. Dry systems the pipes are charged with compressed air. In dry systems when a sprinkler pops the air will escape causing a valve at the standpipe to open and allow the water to flow through the system and to the sprinklers. The primary reason for dry systems is for use in areas where freezing is a concern.

      December 21, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. MissAnthrope

    True. Perhaps they would have gotten it had the story stated
    'the latest' instead.
    Post#29: LMAO!!

    December 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tace k

    Maybe he wa mad 'cause his last name is Piggee

    December 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
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