Sprinkler Floods Bellevue Apartments

Residents of a Bellevue apartment building were evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a sprinkler system fracture at the upscale Elements Apartments, a downtown high rise complex on 111th Ave. NE.

Luke Liu knew there was a problem when he drove into the garage... because it was a pond.

"I saw some water coming out of the walls and it looked so terrible," he said.

Bellevue Fire says someone backed their car into a garage sprinkler head, setting the system off. That wouldn't have been too big a problem, except for what happened next.

The fire suppression system did what it was programmed to do - one sprinkler goes off, the pumps get ready. But instead of a small issue in the garage, highly pressurized water found a weak spot in the line and started gushing out - 27 floors above.

"Why that pipe broke, why the pumps kicked on, that really shouldn't have happened," said Bellevue Fire Lt. Richard Burke.

Bellevue Fire said there was water damage between floors 16 and 27 and tenants would not be allowed to go back into their apartments until the sprinkler and alarm system are working properly.

The Elements Apartments consists of three high-rise, glass and steel buildings.

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