April 17 2019 0Comment

Philadelphia Landmark Christ Church Protected to prevent inferno like Notre Dame Cathedral

Monday night the world watched as a fire destroyed the steeple and roof structure of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.  The iconic spire of the church was destroyed, as well as much of the Oak roof structure.  At this point it is thought that the fire may have been started as part of renovations that were taking place.  Scaffolding around the structure can be seen in the videos and photos.  The question that is being asked by many, is “Why wouldn’t such a landmark be protected with a fire suppression system that could have prevented such a tragedy?” 

Christ Church, located in Old City Philadelphia was built in 1727.  In the 1750’s, the steeple was added, and is built primarily of wood.  The church sustained a fire in the steeple in 1908.  Historians and other supporters of the church recognized that there was potential for a fire in the future, and that measures should be taken to protect the church from fire.  The preservation of Christ Church has involved installing an interior fire sprinkler system, as well as a water mist system to protect the steeple of the church.  Oliver Fire Protection & Security was responsible for the design and installation of these systems.  The water mist system is manually operated, and would protect the steeple in the event of a fire that is started from the exterior of the building, like Notre Dame, or fire from surrounding buildings that could spread.

A test of the Steeple’s water mist system was performed on Wednesday, April 17th, so that media and other interested parties could see it in operation.  Attached, please find a photo of the mist system in action.


By Steve Oliver, PE, MBA, April 17, 2019