You've probably seen a movie or TV show where the overhead sprinklers go off in a building, dousing everybody inside.

Firefighters in Fargo are crediting one of those systems with stopping a fire from spreading at a local mall.

Around 2:42 a.m. on Sunday, the Fargo Fire Department got a call about a fire at Macy's in the West Acres Mall, a news release said. When firefighters arrived, they discovered a sprinkler head in one of the management offices had already extinguished the flames.

The department says the sprinkler system minimized what likely would have been "significant fire damage" to the department store.

"This incident reinforces the value of sprinkler systems and their ability to contain or extinguish fires prior to firefighters arrival," the release says.

It was determined that an overheated electrical device started the fire, which then spread to nearby office furniture. The department says the extent of the damages is being assessed.

"The Fargo Fire Department would like to remind everyone to safely exit a building at the first notification of a fire alarm and always practice exit drills in your home," the department said in the release.

How do they work?

In movies it's always a tiny bit of smoke that sets off the overhead sprinklers in a building. In real life, the sprinklers are heat activated, HowStuffWorks says

And only one sprinkler head goes off at a time. Otherwise the whole building could get drenched just because of a small fire in one room, which would cause more harm (in water damages) than good.

Watch a sprinkler work in slo-mo:

P.S. Remember to check your smoke detector?

Fire departments usually encourage people to change their smoke detector batteries when changing their clocks.

If you forgot to do that during daylight savings time, take a few minutes – it could save your life. 

The Fargo Fire Department says there have been 1,752 home fire fatalities in the U.S. so far this year.

Next Up

st. paul homicide - 30 block of Winnipeg Avenue West

St. Paul man arrested after calling police to report he killed his wife

The man was outside the police station when he called 911.


Highly contagious rabbit disease detected for first time in MN

Two indoor rabbits "died suddenly and inexplicably" from the disease earlier this month.

Salted Nut Roll

New seasonal varieties of the Salted Nut Roll have arrived

There will never be enough pumpkin spice to satisfy the world.

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, September 28

The newest information provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.

police lights

Minnesota man charged after 3-hour standoff with police on I-94 in Wisconsin

Law enforcement used tear gas on him in an effort to get him out of the vehicle.

Pamela Espeland (1)

Beloved MinnPost writer who amplified MN arts scene dies suddenly

The arts community is remembering her impact and mourning her death.

Abbey Piner

Missing Aitkin County woman may be in St. Paul area

Law enforcement are asking for the public's help in finding her.

box elder bugs

The boxelder bug invasion has commenced in Minnesota

They love to cluster in sunny and warm locations.

chaska school fight

Fight breaks out over mask policy at Eastern Carver County School Board meeting

The district on Monday updated its mask policy to require them for all students.

Bemidji City Hall

Public's help sought after shooting kills father of five girls

The father of five girls was fatally shot in early September.

Screen Shot 2021-09-28 at 7.21.37 AM

Driver killed in Fridley crash that cut his car in half

The victim is a 29-year-old man from Wisconsin.