Retailer Fire Serves as Reminder of Value of Fire Systems

GULFPORT, Miss. - A predawn fire Wednesday at America's Thrift Store is an example of why businesses need fire alarm and sprinkler systems, Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said.

Fire safety devices in the building at 2001 East Pass Road minimized damage and allowed firefighters time to get inside to extinguish the fire before it could cause major loss or damage. The building has heavy smoke damage in the back, but no structural damage.

Firefighters are accustomed to responding to false alarms. That appeared to be the case when they responded to the alarm at 2:24 a.m.

"We were checking all around the building, looking through the front window and saw no sign of a fire," Sullivan said. "We laddered up to the roof and one of our guys noticed what appeared to be steam or smoke coming out of a vent."

The building's sprinkler system activated before firefighters forced their way inside.