SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Metal thieves are stripping small but critical pieces out of fire sprinklers, and fire officials worry the trend could create a bigger fire danger and end up costing lives.
The Sacramento Metro Fire Department said building owners have reported a number of thefts of a fire department connector, or FDC, from their fire systems.
The part is traditionally made from solid brass and acts as a pressure regulator for a building’s sprinklers, keeping fires small and increasing survivability, according to Sac Metro Fire Captain Kim Fong.
“It decreases the amount of water we can initially put on the fire through the use of the sprinkler system,” Fong said. “There are some unscrupulous recyclers out there.”
The part is necessary at most commercial businesses or other places with the possibility of serious loss of life. The business owner is responsible for replacing the devices, but frustration is mounting over repeat crimes that seem to result in a new theft almost immediately after the new part is installed.
The thefts have become so frequent that officials are looking into changing regulations to allow the part to be made out of a simple alloy instead of more valuable brass.