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A firefighter's genius idea may save more homes from wildfires

By Jaclyn Rostie, Reporter, j.rostie@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:30:26 AM CST
Updated On: Aug 19 2013 07:04:02 PM CDT

An home protection invention came after a fateful experience during the Black Forest Fire. Jaclyn Rostie reports.

It's why one home in Black Forest survived.  Now, a firefighter's genius idea could save many more.

Roy Dalton is part of a group that has developed a new home fire protection system. It is called a House Hydrant and looks much like a sprinkler system, only it is designed to sit on top of your roof.

Dalton said it was on the first day of the Black Forest Fire that he and his team came across a house with a lot of hoses and manual sprinklers scattered across the lawn.

"I said, 'Chief do you want me to put some sprinklers on the house?' He said, 'sure, why not?'  So I got up there ... just laid the sprinklers on the roof ... and within 10 minutes from getting that installed the fire had rolled up toward the house and we had to evacuate," said Dalton.

Dalton said by the time they left, the smoke had rolled in and everything disappeared.  When they went back later, the house was the only one to survive in the surrounding area.

Homeowner, Dennis Immer, said he thought for sure his home was gone.  "The last time out, I looked over our house and there were literally flames shooting above the roof ... I guess they were 40 feet in the air," said Immer.

Several days later, Immer saw a picture that proved his home survived.  "I said, 'What's that on the roof?' Turns out, it was our sprinkler system with hoses and a couple of sprinkler heads ... obviously firemen were there and did that," said Immer. 

Soon that idea turned into an invention and now a business. 

A House Hydrant System is installed outside of a home.  It is activated by radiant heat from an approaching wildfire or forest fire.  Once activated, it soaks your house with 500 to 5000 gallons of water, even if you are not there and even if the power has been cut off to your community. 

The water tanks can be installed above ground, underground or a place you choose on your property.  They can also run on a backup power system.  The fire department can refill your tank from their truck if needed.

Systems start around $4 - $5,000 and financing is available.  Systems are already being installed in Colorado and other states.  For more information visit www.HouseHydrant.com.

    

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