Spike in Water Pressure Sets Off Fire Alarms

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Several Grand Island businesses got a surprise Tuesday morning when their fire alarms went off, all around the same time.

But there was no need to worry about those fire alarms. As it turns out, they were accidentally set off by a spike in water pressure.

City Utilities Director Tim Luchsinger said it happened just before 9 a.m. while workers were switching water pumps. He said the pressure surge accidentally turned on the activation switches. Alarms went off in both Grand Island Walmarts, the Conestoga Mall, a Goodwill warehouse, and two smaller businesses.

"The alarms went off, so our employees, as they normally would, exited the building, ended up meeting at a designated location. They then thought, well, it's just the regular drills that we do, and decided to call the main corporate office. And we hadn't set that drill off," said Tammy Slater of Goodwill Industries.

A Walmart spokeswoman said that the alarms rang for several minutes as managers tried to contact emergency personnel. The fire department was dispatched to reset the alarms, and business went on as usual.

Luchsinger said that while the city tries to prevent such incidents, they do occur occasionally and can impact any fire alarm and sprinkler system tied to the city water supply.