A properly installed fire sprinkler system is credited with saving Jersey Mike's Subs in Wauwatosa from a potentially devastating fire, according to the Wauwatosa Fire Department.

An employee at the sandwich shop, 2751 N. Mayfair Road, was preparing food around 8:50 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, when she noticed a burning smell. She went to the kitchen area and saw visible fire coming from a gas-fed water heater located near the ceiling.

The employee immediately called 911 and warned workers in a neighboring business to evacuate.

First-arriving fire department units found a single-story building with light smoke within the Jersey Mike's Sub space. It appeared the fire was controlled by an automatic sprinkler system before the fire department's arrival, according to a news release.

There was very little fire damage due to the sprinkler system, but some water damage occurred at Jersey Mike's Subs, along with two neighboring tenant spaces. The neighboring spaces were expected to reopen within hours of the fire.

Jersey Mike's Subs is expected to reopen later this week.

The exact cause of the fire is unknown, but appears to have started in or near a natural gas water heater in the kitchen.

There were no injuries and damage estimates had not yet been determined.

The Wauwatosa Fire Department encouraged the installation of sprinkler systems in all types of buildings, including businesses and residential occupancies.

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