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A sprinkler system in a parking garage at a West Side apartment building kept a car fire from spreading early Tuesday morning, and all of the building's residents escaped uninjured, authorities reported.

The fire was reported shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday at 8211 Plaza Drive, a building that has 22 apartments and two businesses, the Madison Fire Department said in a news release.

Two cars were damaged and the building suffered light smoke damage. Damage was estimated at $40,000.

The cause of the car fire has not been determined.

"When firefighters arrived they saw smoke coming from the basement parking area's garage door," said spokesman Eric Dahl in the release. "The parking garage was filled with smoke so a thermal imaging camera was used to locate the fire."

After the fire was extinguished, fans were used to ventilate the building.

"Two sprinkler heads located within a few feet of the burning car activated and sprayed water on the fire," Dahl said. "This controlled the fire and kept it from spreading until firefighters arrived to finish extinguishing the fire."

A Metro Transit bus went to the scene to provide shelter for the residents who evacuated the building.

"Once conditions were safe, all of the residents were allowed to return to their apartments," Dahl said.


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