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Autronica’s AutroGuard Smoke Detectors Prevent Fire at Norway’s National Sanctuary, the Nidaros Cathedral

Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway. Image: Shutterstock  AutroGuard with VAD

During the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 8 someone attempted to set fire to  Nidaros Cathedral - the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral, built beginning in 1070, and Norway’s national sanctuary located in the city of Trondheim. Luckily, the fire was quickly detected by Autronica Fire and Security’s AutroGuard® protectors. The recently developed protector has technology that enables fast and reliable smoke detection. The Nidaros Cathedral is one of the first buildings where AutroGuard was installed.
The fire was ignited on a wooden door from the outside of the Cathedral. It was in its early stages when two AutroGuard devices located in the sacristy quickly went into alarm. The Nidaros Cathedral fire alarm system has a direct connection to the local fire department and immediately alerted emergency first responders who extinguished the fire before it did any major damage.  
The technology that saves lives and invaluable buildings  
The new AutroGuard protector features a new MultiAngle/MultiWavelength optical chamber and two heat sensors as standard, and the chamber design allows smoke to enter the chamber faster than before. Together with advanced algorithms, the AutroGuard provides faster detection of fire while reducing nuisance alarms.  
Jan Tøndelstrand is the Operation and Security Manager at Nidaros Cathedral Restoration Workshop, the unit responsible for maintaining the Cathedral and its adjoining buildings. He was impressed by the speed of the protector and thankful the AutroGuard detector alerted the fire department quickly, so they could put out the fire and immediately start extracting smoke, preventing further damage to the historic Cathedral. Although the flame was small, smoke had seeped into the sacristy within the Cathedral, where it was detected by the two AutroGuard devices at a very early stage. “Quick detection is the success factor for protecting the Cathedral, and I’m glad the fire was detected as soon as it was,” said Tøndelstrand.  
Autronica’s Service Engineer, Lars Hammer, is also satisfied to see the result of years of development providing this positive outcome. “Naturally, we would prefer if the Cathedral fire alarm system was never put to the test, but when it happened, we were proud to see all the work we have put into this protector being so valuable. We have already replaced the protector, and our technology team is studying it in our lab to see if there are lessons from this incident that can provide even more secure fire detection in the future,” said Hammer.  

Service Engineer, Lars Hammer and Service Manager, Odd Magne Aursand in front of the damaged door. The damage was not visible on the inside.   Service Engineer Lars Hammer, Operation and Security Manager, Jan Tøndelstrand and Service Manager, Odd Magne Aursand in front of the AutroSafe main fire panel, covered by a curtain when the Cathedral is in use.   Caption: The AutroGuard protector has been replaced and is now being studied in our engineering lab.

Outside fire protection an option 
In addition to AutroGuard protectors, Autronica Fire & Security also offers another solution that provides rapid response to arson and external fire sources:  façade protection. The Archbishop’s palace, an adjoining building to the Cathedral, utilizes this technology. It is especially beneficial for wooden facades. With this fire protection solution, a flame detector is placed directly on the façade, and will alarm when it detects a flame, not waiting for smoke to seep into the building. This solution is becoming more and more popular on historical buildings like churches and museums, as well as other buildings where arson is an increasing problem. 

The wooden part of the Archbishop’s palace discreetly protected with Autronica Fire & Security’s façade protection.   Facade protection solution illustration