SAN DIEGO — A San Diego firefighter is used to running into burning buildings, but when one came face to face with a shark it was a different story.
“You’ll see me as nervous as I’ll ever be in my life,” said Matt Scarpuzzi of his appearance on the popular show “Shark Tank.” “The great thing about being a firefighter is you’re in stressful situations all the time and the last thing you want to do is show the public that you’re stressed out so hopefully I appeared calm.”
Scarpuzzi, a firefighter for 12 years, created a device called Quickstop Fire Sprinkler Tools which turn off sprinkler water within seconds.
“I want to stop hearing the stories of businesses and homes that are destroyed by the systems that are designed to protect them,” said Scarpuzzi. “The water will flow until someone shuts it off. Sometimes that’s the entire building, other times you’re able to isolate a floor.”
The tool works like a vice grip. It slides on the sprinkler head, whether it’s intact or sheared off, and clamps it shut with a handle cutting off the water. Scarpuzzi said this is the first device of its kind that works on all sprinkler heads and is available for homeowners and professionals alike.
“Before I had this tool, there were times where we had nothing and we would sit and wait for someone to locate the water shut off in the building and the water would just continually flow,” he said.
Scarpuzzi spent the last eight years designing several tools. He’s sold about 900 in them in the last nine months at around $70 each. He’s not allowed to say what happened during the taping of “Shark Tank” or if he garnered an investor.
“I’m a sports guy, so Mark Cuban was someone I was excited to meet and he was cool, had some great advice and it was a blast,” said Scarpuzzi.
The episode airs Friday, April 11 on ABC.