It should be common sense to not hang clothes on the hotel room sprinkler, but apparently it’s not. According to a recent Virginian-Pilot story (via View From The Wing), a hotel guest staying on the fourth floor of the Holiday Inn Dumfries in Virginia caused $690,000 in damage when he hung his JROTC uniform on an in-room sprinkler and accidentally sent the sprinkler into action. It took the fire department 45 minutes to turn off the water. The guest was a high school senior hoping to make his jacket look sharp before a drill competition, and things backfired beyond expectations. His family is now dealing with a lawsuit from the insurance company, which footed the bill.
I know it can be tempting to hang clothes from anything that looks like a hook in your room—especially since some hotels have inexcusably removed closets and hangers to save money—but the little “No hanging” sticker next to the hotel room sprinkler has always reminded me not to do it. I’m not sure what options this high school senior had in terms of places to hang the jacket (a closest with hangers, etc.) or whether there was a warning sticker on the sprinkler, but you can’t blame him for wanting to make sure his JROTC uniform looked perfect.
One thing I did learn from the View From The Wing post is that every hotel owner and homeowner should have a sprinkler-stopper emergency shut-off tool to prevent costly flooding in the event that a sprinkler is accidentally turned on. I’m about to buy one on Amazon and trying to decide between the $27 and $88 versions…
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