Fire sprinkler system activation triggers evacuation of new Smith’s Marketplace

St. George Fire Department crews respond after a fire alarm was sounded at Smith's Marketplace on Mall Drive in St. George, Utah, Aug. 20, 2017 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Just ahead of its grand opening, the newly built Smith’s Marketplace in St. George was evacuated when the store’s fire alarm and sprinkler system activated Saturday night.

People wait after being evacuated from Smith’s Marketplace on Mall Drive after a fire alarm was sounded in the store, St. George, Utah, Aug. 20, 2017 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

St. George Fire responded to the incident at around 10 p.m. at the new store’s location at 565 S. Mall Dr.

“We got there and found that the sprinkler pipe had been sheared off from the garage door where they keep the carts,” St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said.

After the pipe broke, the sprinklers activated near the front of the store, and there was reportedly a smell of smoke.

The store was evacuated as a precaution once the fire alarm was sounded.

Crews from the fire department shut off the water, Hooper said, adding that no fire had started.

“Initially, they thought they could smell smoke,” Hooper said. “What it more likely was was the oil in the sprinkler pipes – when it comes out, it has this real musky smell to it, and it kind of had like a mist and a haze in the air there in the front area.”

Shopping carts are soaked after a sprinkler system was activated at Smith’s Marketplace on Mall Drive in St. George, Utah, Aug. 20, 2017 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

The cart-return area was soaked, but the water was limited to a small area.

A company was called in to perform repairs on the pipe where the sliding door appeared to have come loose and snapped it.

The incident happened less than two weeks before the new store’s scheduled Aug. 31 grand opening.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

St. George News reporter Cody Blowers contributed to this report.

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  • Mean Momma August 20, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Uhhhhmmm.. am I missing something? I thought I already attended Smith Marketplace’s grand opening a couple of weeks ago. Was that not the grand opening?

    • Lory August 21, 2017 at 1:06 am

      You must have been to the pre opening before the grand opening. I know, it’s all a bit silly. They should just open the door and say come on in here’s a coupon and a chicken wing.

      • Mean Momma August 21, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        Lol! Well, I’m all for more free stuff, so bring it on I guess!

  • ScanMeister August 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Thanks for clearing that up…..I thought I was at the Grand Opening….It was the soft Grand Opening.

  • Happy Day August 21, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Grand reopening – the shopping cart garage is going to be remodeled.

  • utahdiablo August 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Been to both Smiths, the new and the old, we prefer the old store, so please, St George shoppers, please go the new store to free up space so that shopping will be a pleasure again in the old store for us…:>)

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