On July 18, 1988, at approximately 8:20 p.m. a fire started on the 34th story of a high-rise building in Los Angeles, CA. Workers were refinishing a combination credenza/bookcase by stripping the furniture with paint and varnish remover, cleaning the wood with a lacquer thinner, then applying new finish. The stripper was a Class II combustible liquid, and the lacquer thinner was a class IB flammable liquid. An arc occurred when one of the workers was removing finish around the electrical box. Despite the quick spread of the fire and presence of flammable and combustible liquids, severe damage was contained to three offices and a secretarial area.
Factors that helped to limit fire spread included:
- office partitioning equipment
- immediate notification of the fire department
- adequate water
- it was the evening, so firefighters could enter the building without being delayed by people who were evacuating
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