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Capital Gazette: General Services plans test of State House ‘deluge’ system Friday morning

While the weather forecast calls for a possible deluge Thursday, there will certainly be one Friday morning at the State House in Annapolis.

The Maryland Department of General Services plans to conduct a test of the State House “deluge” fire-suppression system Friday morning starting at 9 a.m., drenching the outside of the historic wooden dome with water.

The deluge system is a fixed fire protection system that releases pressurized water through a pipe system on the outside of the State House Dome. If the detectors or the deluge wiring, more specifically a device called the Pyrowire, detects excessive heat or smoke the system will automatically activate.

The system disperses a sort of mist, which DGS officials warned can be confused with smoke. The system was first installed in the early 1990s.

Two years ago, lightning struck the Pyrowire, which caused the system to activate. After the strike, DGS replaced the wiring and installed a new control panel.

“Our deluge system differs from conventional fire sprinkler systems,” DGS spokesman Nick Cavey said in a statement released Thursday announcing the test. “In a conventional fire sprinkler system, when activated, all of the nozzles are opened and water flows from all of the nozzles. Our system is activated when heat is detected by the Pyrowire, which is strategically placed on the dome.”

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