Today in fire history: fatal fire in chemical manufacturing facility/warehouse

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Aug 15, 2011

Tonawanda_08-18 On August 18, 1995, in Tonawanda, NY, a fire began at a chemical manufacturing facility that eventually caused $3 Million in property damage, and injured 8 people (5 employees, 2 firefighters, and one bystander).  One person perished from injuries sustained jumping out a window to escape.  The fire began when decomposing persulfate (which was manufactured at the plant to be used in products such as tires, latex paint, and hair coloring products, among other things) generated sufficient heat to ignite the container it was being held in, as well as nearby wooden pallets. 

The facility was protected by a dry-pipe sprinkler system, which operated, but was unable to control the fire.  NFPA investigators concluded that they system was inadequate for the hazard being protected according to NFPA code requirements at the time. 

Members can read the full investigation report.  NFPA also has a report regarding fires in industrial and manufacturing facilities that members can download, and a fact sheet which all site visitors can download.

-Ben Evarts