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Sprinklers may have stopped fire from spreading in Brookfield office building

Businesses are still trying to get back on their feet after a fire destroyed a Brookfield office building.

In total, 10 businesses were affected, some much more than others. But, part of a city ordinance requiring buildings to have sprinklers was repealed, making some wonder if it was the right move.

"It's been awfully busy, you know? 14 hour days trying to duct tape everything back together again," said Dr. Bob Saur.

The fire was intense. Investigators think it was an accident. Whatever the cause, the building, or what's left of it, is beyond repair. Doctor Bob Saur's dental practice was nearly incinerated.

"Everything from family pictures to odds and ends, you know?" Dr. Saur said.

Patient records were the only thing saved.

"I don't think we'd be having this outcome if it was sprinklered," said Chief Charlie Myers with the Brookfield Fire Department.

Brookfield Fire Chief Charlie Myers says building C went up in the early 80s, a few years before a city ordinance requiring sprinklers was enacted. It was revisited in 1997 to require buildings of this type to be retrofitted. The business community fought back, and four years later that amendment was repealed.

"We hear the argument from the builders that putting sprinklers makes the building more, so therefore people won't build. This makes the argument in the reverse," said Chief Myers. 

Many of the businesses are now finding new office space. Doctor Bob Saur moved into a retiring dentist's office across the parking lot. But, it still makes some wonder, would sprinklers have helped?

"It probably could've made a difference, I'm sure it would've," said Doctor Saur.

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