Today in fire history: rooming house fire claims the lives of 5 residents

Blog Post created by paulalevesque Employee on Aug 23, 2014

At approximately 4:30 a.m. on August 23, 1986, a fire occurred in a rooming house located in the village of Massapequa on Long Island, New York.  This fire claimed the lives of five residents and resulted in heavy damage to the wood frame structure.

The Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office has determined the fire to be incendiary in nature.  Although the facility had operated over 10 years, its existence was not known by code enforcement officials, it was not licensed, and, consequently, no inspections had been conducted.

The significant factors contributing to the loss of life in this incident are considered to be:

  •     The ignition scenario;

  •     Delay Delayed detection of the fire due to an inadequate fire detection system;

  •     The spread of products of combustion throughout the building by means of

         the open stairway;

  •     The combustibility of interior finish;

  •     A delay in notifying the fire department.

For more information on this fire NFPA Fire Investigations. To learn about NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research statistics on Intentional Fires.