The McKinney Fire Department is crediting Dollar Tree's sprinkler system in helping firefighters quickly control the blaze started by an alleged arsonist on Monday, according to a news release issued Wednesday afternoon.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday, McKinney 9-1-1 began receiving calls that a man had entered the Dollar Tree Store at 3001 S. Central Expressway, sprayed lighter fluid and ignited a fire in a storage area at the rear of the building.

More than 12 McKinney Fire Dept. units and 34 personnel responded, as well as multiple officers from the McKinney Police Department. 

Upon confirming that employees and customers had safely exited the store, other businesses in the retail center were evacuated as a precautionary measure. A short time later the suspected arsonist exited the premises, which had filled with toxic smoke. The man was immediately arrested.

While businesses located on either side of the Dollar Tree received smoke and water damage, the fire did not spread beyond the store. 

According to Fire Prevention Chief Dwayne Henderson, only sprinkler heads in the immediate area of the fire activated prior to the Fire Department's arrival, preventing spread of flames to other areas of the building, or to other businesses. 

Henderson stated, “The active fire protection system – the fire sprinklers – worked as designed. Only the sprinkler head(s) at the location of the fire operated – not all the sprinklers in the building. The spread of fire was limited and much easier for MFD units to control and extinguish.”

The benefits of fire sprinkler systems in certain commercial structures and multi-family housing properties has long been recognized and mandated. But, according to MFD spokesperson Stacie Durham, sprinkler systems can be equally effective in private residences.

“Most fire deaths occur at home, at night, while people are sleeping," Durham said. "Residential fire sprinkler systems can contain, control, and often extinguish the fire prior to arrival of emergency responders.”

The McKinney Fire Department encourages all residents to consider including a residential fire sprinkler system as you construct your new home or renovate your existing home. 

According to the American Fire Sprinkler Association, the cost to install a system, from design to installation and operation, is approximately $2 per sprinklered square foot. 

Fire Chief Danny Kistner said, “Residential fire sprinkler systems are an excellent tool to protect what you value most. They save lives and property.” 

For additional information on residential fire sprinkler systems, visit www.homefiresprinkler.org.

The McKinney Fire Department is a resource for life safety information and has experts to help you increase the safety and survivability of your loved ones and your property from the devastating effects of fire and other hazards. 

For additional information, please visit www.mckinneyfire.org or call 972-547-2893.