On August 2, 2000, a fire occurred in a multi-tenant warehouse in Phoenix, AZ, completely destroying the 85,000 square foot facility. The fire began in the part of the warehouse occupied by a home and garden supply company and was first detected at 4:58 p.m. By 5:17 p.m. most of the south wall of the building had collapsed.
Less than an hour after workers had left for the day, smoke was spotted. Occupants from the other half of the building heard banging noises and went outside to look, and saw a column of smoke rising from the building. Firefighters soon arrived on the scene, but, by the next morning, the entire building was destroyed. Five firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation, several police officers were treated for breathing related problems, and over 80 civilians were evacuated from their homes.
The cause of the fire had not been determined at the time of NFPA's investigation report, but several factors may contribute to large losses in similar facilities:
- Lack of segregation between incombatible materials
- Lack of proper storage configuration for oxidizers
- Inadequate sprinkler protection for commodities stored in the warehouse
NFPA members can download the full investigation report and all visitors can read a summary of the investigation.