Created: 12/17/2013 11:47 AM KAALtv.com
(ABC 6 News) - Residents at the Madonna Meadows Assisted Living Apartments had to be "protected in place" Tuesday morning after a small fire broke out in the building.
The Rochester Fire Department was called to the complex just before 1 am for an automatic fire alarm. Before they arrived workers in the building discovered a small fire in a locked office.
As firefighters were breaking into the office, the building's sprinkler system activated and put the fire out.
Fire officials explain that "protect in place" is used when firefighters determine they can stop the fire and control the movement of smoke quickly rather than subject the occupants to smoke in hallways and the bitter cold of a winter night.
The quick arrival of the on-duty crew from the 2nd Street Station coupled with their effective action made the fire go out fast making the "protect in place" option best for the residents.
Authorities say a small appliance may be to blame for the fire, but the exact cause is still under investigation.
Damage is estimated at more than $5,000.