Today in fire history: a fire in an adult foster care facility results in 10 deaths

Blog Post created by paulalevesque Employee on Jun 2, 2014

At approximately 2:15 a.m., on Tuesday, June 2, 1992, a fire occurred at an adult foster care facility in Detroit MIBoardandCareDetroit, Michigan and resulted in the deaths of 10 occupants.  The building involved in this fire was originally a three-story, two-family dwelling.  However, in the early 1970s it was renovated for use as an adult foster care facility.  At the time of the fire, sixteen predominantly elderly individuals lived in the facility, and some of these residents were mentally or physically handicapped.  In addition to the residents, one night supervisor was in the facility.

Local investigators believe that the probable cause of the fire was smoking materials discarded in a wastebasket in a first floor kitchen.  Once ignited, the fire spread to the combustible interior finish materials in that room, and then the growing fire ignited combustible finish materials in other first-floor rooms.  Open stairways and other unprotected vertical openings allowed the combustion products to rapidly spread throughout the building.  Untenable conditions developed in the building before most of the residents could safely evacuate.

 The factors that significantly contributed to the loss of life were:

 The lack of an automatic fire sprinkler system,

 The presence of combustible interior finish throughout the structure,

 The lack of fire safety and evacuation training for staff and residents,

 The presence of open stairways and other unprotected vertical openings, and

 The lack of a second exit for the second floor.

For more information about this NFPA members can download the Full Investigation report .  To learn more about NFPA's statistical data go to Structure Fires in Board and Care Facilities