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Today in fire history: large loss fire at bulk retail store

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Apr 16, 2012

On April 16, 1996, a fire occurred at a fully sprinklered bulk retail store in Albany, Georgia.  Arriving firefighters found the fire venting through the roof and an area where the walls had begun to separate.  Despite their efforts, the fire destroyed the entire building and all the merchandise inside.  The loss was estimated at $9 million ($13 million today).  The cause of the fire was not determined, but began in the area where pool chemicals were stored.  NFPA’s investigation found several deviations from code requirements at the time.

  • The storage of oxidizers on racks that exceeded height and depth limits for retail storage
  • The lack of solid, noncombustible vertical barriers between oxidizers and incompatible materials
  • The lack of in-rack sprinklers for the area protecting the oxidizer storage
  • Sprinkler systems that were designed to discharge densities and areas of operation that were below current NFPA requirements for oxidizer storage

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and all site visitors can read a summary in Spanish

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