THE MAPLE STREET CHAPEL
Fire Sprinkler System - 2015-2017
The most ambitious - and crucial - project we have ever done!
Since 2000 the chapel has had a state-of-the-art fire protection system with 26 smoke & heat detectors.
Further protection against fire has been obtained with the fire sprinkler system, placing 110 sprinkler heads throughout the main floor, the attic, and the basement.
The system is a mixture of a "dry system" and a "wet system". In a wet system, the pipes running to the sprinkler heads are full of water. This is appropriate for areas that are maintained at a temperature of 40 degrees or above. But the attic is unheated. Not only does that mean include the sprinklers in the attic itself, the pipes to the sprinklers in the ceiling above the main floor are in the attic. So for these areas a dry system has the pipes full of compressed air. If a sprinkler is tripped, the air pressure drops. A "dry valve" in the basement detects this and sends water into the pipes. In this picture the black pipes are full of water (the water supply coming in, and the pipe going to the basement sprinklers), and the silver pipes are full of compressed air (running to the attic).
The red thing in the middle is the dry valve. The blue thing above it is the compressor which maintains pressure in the dry pipe.
A huge cost saving was realized by leveraging off of the existing fire sprinkler system of First Church. This eliminated the need to run a water supply pipe to the water main under Main Street, and the cost of a fire pump, which boosts the city water pressure. The cost of the fire pump would have included having to run a separate power feed from the Comm Ed pole.
A pipe runs through the basement ceiling of First Church and through a trench 5' underground to the chapel basement.
A major goal of this project was to design a system that did not affect the beauty of the building. Besides efforts to locate all pipes in wall spaces out of sight, the way this was done was to use concealed sprinkler heads. These heads are similar to the heads used in lawn sprinkler systems, that the heads are retracted into the ceiling and extend out when spraying water. A 2" diameter cover goes over the top.
Custom colors were mixed, and the sprinkler heads were ordered with the covers pre-painted in colors to match the wood of the ceilings.
We are very grateful to the people who helped make this project a success:
- Chicago Fire Protection, Inc., for the excellent work they did
- The Lombard Fire Department, for their technical assistance
- All the people who generously donated