A disaster was averted late Wednesday night at the YWCA, 815 W. Fourth St., when a fire caused by two children playing with a lighter on the fourth floor activated the building's sprinkler system. The sprinklers put out the fire in a matter of minutes, according to city Fire Chief C. Dean Heinbach.
"This could have been a real disaster had it not been for the sprinkler system," Heinbach said.
There were no reports of injuries.
The fire, which broke out about 10:20 p.m., routed about 40 temporary residents and several staff members from the building, Heinbach said.
The children set fire to a potato chip bag that was in a baby's crib, Heinbach said. The fire spread to a blanket and the mattress in the crib, which activated the sprinkler system and a fire alarm, Heinbach said.
"No baby was in the crib at the time," he said.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, there was smoke showing from the fourth floor, Heinbach said.
"There was a lot of smoke and water in the fourth-floor hallway," Heinbach said.
There was no structural damage and the fire did not spread beyond the crib, Heinbach said. However, the incident resulted in $90,000 worth of water damage, he added.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross set up an overnight emergency shelter for the displaced tenants at a local church, and River Valley Transit moved all the tenants to the temporary facility.
The city Codes Department inspected the YWCA on Thursday and allowed the agency to resume full operation.