Published on November 1, 2017.

STORAGE

California

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

March, 7:47 p.m., $40 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 70,000-square-foot (6,503-square-meter) warehouse containing textiles. No information was reported on its construction or operating status.

Fire Protection Systems

No information was reported.

Fire Development

No information was reported.

Contributing Factors and Details

The building contained baled materials and textiles, creating a large fire load. There was partial collapse of the roof and front wall of the structure.

Minnesota

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

September, 5:34 p.m., $25 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 561,000-square-foot (52,119-square-meter) warehouse containing various products as well as food items, and was of protected, noncombustible construction. The warehouse was operating at the time of the fire.

Fire Protection Systems

There was a smoke detection system present but the coverage and operation were not reported. There was a full-coverage wet pipe suppression system present. Five sprinkler heads operated and controlled the fire.

Fire Development

The only information reported was that the fire broke out in the center of the warehouse and that plastic product bulk storage was involved. The cause is undetermined.

Contributing Factors and Details

None reported. The loss was estimated at $10,000 to the building and $25 million to the contents. All contents were soot-covered.

California

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

July, 6:47 p.m., $15.2 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a large wood pallet storage yard.

Fire Protection Systems

No information was reported.

Fire Development

No information was reported.

Contributing Factors and Details

Upon arrival, firefighters found the pallet yard fully involved and endangering six other commercial structures.

Texas

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

November, 8:17 a.m., $13 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 30,000-square-foot (2,787-square-meter) mini-storage facility of unprotected, noncombustible construction. The business was operating at the time of the fire.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no smoke or automatic suppression system present.

Fire Development

The cause is reported as undetermined.

Contributing Factors and Details

One firefighter was injured. The loss was estimated at $1 million damage to the building and $12 million to the contents, which included boats, cars, and other items.

Georgia

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

May, 10:08 p.m., $12 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 114,000-square-foot (10,591-square-meter) marine equipment and parts warehouse of unprotected, ordinary construction. The business was closed at the time of the fire.

Fire Protection Systems

A smoke/heat detection system was present. Its coverage was not reported but it did operate. There was no automatic suppression system present.

Fire Development

The cause is reported as undetermined.

Contributing Factors and Details

Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke showing from one side of the warehouse. Shortly after, the fire broke through the roof and a section of wall collapsed. Firefighters were withdrawn from inside the building and went to a defensive attack. The fire also extended to an office area but firefighters were able to contain that fire. The loss was estimated at $3 million damage to the building and $9 million to the contents, which included various products for marine use.

Tennessee

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

February, 6:26 p.m., $10.3 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 137,472-square-foot (12,772-square-meter) warehouse. The construction type and operating status as well as the type of contents were not reported.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no automatic detection or suppression equipment present.

Fire Development

There was no information reported.

Contributing Factors and Details

The warehouse contained bulk storage. No additional information was reported on contributing factors. The damage was listed as approximately $6.9 million to the structure and $3.4 million to the contents.

SPECIAL PROPERTIES

Washington

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

July, 3 a.m., $20 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a six-story, 37,129-square-foot (3,449-square-meter) mixed-occupancy building of unprotected wood-frame construction that was under renovation. No one was present at the time of the fire.

Fire Protection Systems

There was neither smoke detection nor automatic suppression equipment present.

Fire Development

The fire broke out on the fourth floor and the cause was not determined. No additional information was reported.

Contributing Factors and Details

None reported.

California

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

July, 2:44 a.m., $20 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a six-story, 80,000-square-foot (7,432-square-meter) apartment building of unprotected wood-frame construction that was under construction. No one was at the location at the time of the fire.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no automatic detection system or suppression system present.

Fire Development

The cause and origin was listed as undetermined.

Contributing Factors and Details

On arrival, firefighters found heavy fire throughout the structure. A defensive attack on the fire was initiated.

Arizona

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

April, 5:54 p.m., $17 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a three-story, 32,000-square-foot (2,973-square-meter) apartment building under construction. No one was on the scene at the time of the fire.

Fire Protection Systems

There was neither smoke detection nor automatic suppression equipment present.

Fire Development

Embers from a torch used earlier in the day ignited a fire on the rooftop of a one-story electrical closet attached to the side of a building under construction. Fire spread to other buildings under construction on the site.

Contributing Factors and Details

Nineteen buildings were under construction on this 600,000-square-foot (55,742-square-meter) site. Seventeen buildings were still in the framing stage and two had had stucco applied to their exteriors. All 19 structures were destroyed or damaged in the fire.

Arizona

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

August, 3:30 A.M., $10.1 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a large, nearly completed hotel that was under construction. No additional information was reported.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no information reported on smoke alarms or automatic suppression system.

Fire Development

No information was reported.

Contributing Factors and Details

Evacuation of a nearby hotel was reported.

Massachusetts

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

December, 2:53 P.M., $10 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

The fire originated in a three-story, 1,484-square-foot (138-square-meter) apartment building of unprotected wood-frame construction that was under renovation, and spread to surrounding structures. No information was reported on operating status.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no information reported on smoke alarms. There was no automatic suppression system present.

Fire Development

The cause and origin were undetermined and the fire is under investigation.

Contributing Factors and Details

Due to windy conditions, the fire rapidly spread throughout the neighborhood and destroyed or damaged 16 structures.

Arizona

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

October, (time was not reported), $10 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a two- and three-story, 45,658-square-foot (4,242-square-meter) apartment building that was under construction. No information was reported on the operating status.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no smoke detection equipment present. There was a partial-coverage wet pipe suppression system present. The installation was not complete and the system did not operate.

Fire Development

An incendiary fire was set on the first floor in paper and cardboard in a structure of open-frame construction.

Contributing Factors and Details

The fire rapidly spread throughout the open construction until it involved an additional five structures of various heights, sizes, and stages of construction.

MANUFACTURING

Mississippi

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

June, 9:48 p.m., $17.6 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 250,000-square-foot (23,226-square-meter) custom vehicle wheel manufacturing plant of unprotected noncombustible construction and was in full operation.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no automatic detection or suppression equipment present.

Fire Development

A bearing failure in a high-RPM motor overheated the motor, igniting oil that then blew into the production area, spreading fire.

Contributing Factors and Details

The loss was listed as $3.6 million to the structure and $14 million to the contents, which were custom-made wheels.

Texas

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

December, 6:38 p.m., $10 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story recycling facility. The ground-floor area and operating status were not reported.

Fire Protection Systems

It was not reported if a smoke detection system was present. There was a dry pipe sprinkler system in the structure, but it had been shut down prior to the fire and did not operate.

Fire Development

The fire began in the shipping/receiving area in rubbish and trash. No further information was reported.

Contributing Factors and Details

The damage was listed as $3 million to the structure and $7 million to the contents.

Texas

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

April 8, 10:06 a.m., $15 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a chemical manufacturing plant that was in operation. No other information was reported.

Fire Protection Systems

No information was reported.

Fire Development

There was no information reported.

Contributing Factors and Details

When the local fire department arrived, the plant fire brigade was attempting to extinguish the fire and cool nearby structures.

California

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

July, 2:34 a.m., $14.5 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 200,000-square-foot (18,580-square-meter) baby food manufacturing plant. Information on the construction type and operating status was not reported.

Fire Protection Systems

There was an automatic detection system present, but the type and coverage were not reported. The system did operate. There was a partial coverage wet pipe sprinkler system in the structure and it did operate, with 25 sprinkler heads flowing. It was reported that the system was ineffective due to an insufficient supply of water, the result of a municipal water supply pump that had been affected by a power failure.

Fire Development

The fire began in an equipment area but the cause was not determined.

Contributing Factors and Details

The damage was listed as $11.4 million to the structure and $3.1 million to the contents.

STORE and OFFICE PROPERTIES

California

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

July, 4:28 a.m., $18.9 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 12,100-square-foot (1,124-square-meter) multi-tenant strip mall of unprotected ordinary construction. Its operating status was not reported.

Fire Protection Systems

No information was reported on automatic detection equipment. There was no automatic suppression equipment present.

Fire Development

The cause is undetermined and under investigation.

Contributing Factors and Details

The fire involved six businesses. Aggressive defensive operations enabled firefighters to prevent the fire from spreading to two additional businesses.

Oregon

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

October, 9:07 a.m., $17.2 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was an office building with businesses operating on ground level. No additional information was reported on the structure.

Fire Protection Systems

No information was reported on detection or suppression equipment.

Fire Development

A natural gas explosion occurred when gas filled the basement of the building. The cause of the ignition is still under investigation.

Contributing Factors and Details

Natural gas entered the basement after a contractor accidentally pulled a natural gas pipeline while digging, disconnecting the pipeline at a severed valve. Gas flowed from the pipe to a vault next to the basement of the structure. Firefighters arrived approximately five minutes after a 911 call and were in the process of evacuating the structure when three explosions occurred. Three firefighters and five civilians were injured in the explosions.

Florida

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

June, 12:47 p.m., $13 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 126,000-square-foot (11,706-square-meter) department store of unprotected ordinary construction. It was open and fully operational at the time.

Fire Protection Systems

There was a complete-coverage smoke detection system and manual alarms present. The system operated. There was a full-coverage wet pipe sprinkler system present. The system was not in the area of origin but operated and helped control the fire. Burning materials from the roof dropped into the store and activated the system, which extinguished the fire in this area.

Fire Development

The fire broke out in electrical equipment in the area of a rooftop cooling unit as the result of an undetermined electrical failure. The exact cause was not determined.

Contributing Factors and Details

Three firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion during the fire. The loss was determined to be $5 million to the structure and $8 million to the contents.

WILDLAND/URBAN INTERFACE

Tennessee

A gag order was placed on this incident so information may not be current.

Date, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

November, 5 p.m., $911,000,000

Setting

This was a wildland/urban interface fire that originally broke out in a national park. After burning for five days, near-hurricane-force winds blew the fire into residential areas and private lands.

Climate

On the day the fire started, the temperature was 53 degrees F (12 degrees C), humidity was about 40 percent, winds were approximately 26 mph (42 kph), and there had been only 0.17 inches (4.3 millimeters) of rain for the month.

Fire Origin and Path

The fire was incendiary in nature. This fire burned for several days before fierce winds blew it into residential areas.

Contributing Factors and Details

By the time the fire was contained it had destroyed 2,460 structures—including 2,100 homes and 60 businesses—and burned 17,140 acres (6,936 hectares). Fourteen people died in this blaze. The dollar loss was reported by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

California

Date, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

August, 4:58 p.m., $174.6 million

Setting

This was a wildland/urban interface fire that became known as the Clayton Fire. It occurred in Northern California.

Climate

At the time, winds were 12–14 mph (19–23 kph) with gusts of 19–24 mph (31–39 kph). The relative humidity dropped from 30 percent to 18 percent. The temperature was in the 90s degrees F (30s degrees C).

Fire Origin and Path

The fire was incendiary in nature. During the fire, the wind shifted and the fire spread rapidly into a residential area. Firefighters were unable to keep up with the fire or protect many structures.

Contributing Factors and Details

When the fire was contained, it had destroyed 300 structures and damaged 28 others, and had charred almost 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares). A suspect has been charged with 17 counts of arson.

PUBLIC ASSEMBLY

Texas

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

May, 4:31 p.m., $15.5 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a one-story, 13,500-square-foot (1,254-square-meter) restaurant of unprotected ordinary construction, located in a strip mall. The operating status was not reported.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no smoke detection or automatic suppression system present.

Fire Development

The fire began in the kitchen area. The cause was undetermined.

Contributing Factors and Details

The fire department reported that the fire extended into adjoining businesses in the strip mall. The damage was listed as $15 million to the structure and $500,000 to the contents.

Ohio

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

December, 8:29 a.m., $10 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a two-story, 16,000-square-foot (1,486-square-meter) restaurant of heavy-timber construction. The property was operating and was also undergoing renovations.

Fire Protection Systems

There was no smoke detection or automatic suppression system present.

Fire Development

The fire began on the roof where torch work was taking place. The torch ignited insulation between a new roof and the older roof. The fire spread through the attic and down into the walls.

Contributing Factors and Details

The fire department reported water supply issues with a broken hydrant and firefighters were unable to shuttle enough water to control the fire. The damage was listed as $8 million to the structure and $2 million to the contents.

RESIDENTIAL

California

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

June, 2:06 p.m., $14.1 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a two-story apartment building of unprotected wood-frame construction with businesses on the ground floor. Information on its floor size was not reported.

Fire Protection Systems

There was a smoke detection system present that operated. There was an automatic suppression system present. No information was reported on the type, coverage, or operation of the system.

Fire Development

The fire broke out in a block of attached two- and three-story structures. The fire began on the roof, in the area of several trash receptacles near a deck. The exact cause was undetermined but listed as unintentional in nature.

Contributing Factors and Details

The fire spread and heavily damaged six properties in this block of similar attached buildings. The damage was listed as $11.5 million to structures and $2.6 million to contents.

VEHICLE

Arkansas

Month, Time of Alarm, Dollar Loss

August, 11:40 a.m., $10.2 million

Property Characteristics and Operating Status

This was a towboat pushing a flotilla of 16 barges on the Mississippi River. The boat was 129.5 feet (39 meters) long and 42 feet (13 meters) wide, with a draft of 42 feet (13 meters). There were nine crewmembers on board.

Fire Protection Systems

It was reported that a smoke/heat fire alarm system was present, but no information was reported on coverage or if it operated. There was no automatic suppression system present, but there were 16 portable extinguishers present as well as a semi-portable CO2 extinguishing system located in the upper engine room. These were not manually operated on the fire.

Fire Development

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has listed the probable cause as the failure of power assembly components on a main diesel engine.

Contributing Factors and Details

Combustible materials in the interior spaces and human error contributed to the spread of fire. For additional information on this incident, see the NTSB report online.