Today in fire history: major damage to food processing plant

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Nov 12, 2011

On November 12, 1992 a fire destroyed most of a food processing plant in Yuma, Arizona, causing an estimated $16 million in property damage ($25 million in today’s dollars).  Investigators believe that welders who were installing process equipment may have accidentally ignited combustible materials inside a wall assembly.  The fire spread in a combustible concealed space between the wood-framed interior walls and the metal exterior walls.  Sprinklers had not been installed in the combustible concealed space.   Based on NFPA’s investigation, the following were significant factors contributing to the loss of property in this incident.

  • The presence of concealed combustible spaces in which the fire could readily spread
  • The ignition of combustible materials within a concealed space
  • The lack of sprinkler protection in the concealed combustible spaces
  • Sprinkler systems that were not operational due to ongoing construction activities

NFPA members can download the full investigation report for free and all site visitors can download a summary of the investigation in Spanish.

-Ben Evarts