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Here we blow again: unpermitted hot work sparks rooftop fire at a Virginia country club

Blog Post created by cathylongley Employee on Aug 25, 2017
The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that unpermitted hot work sparked a blaze on the roof of the Westhampton Clubhouse at the Country Club of Virginia. Fire service suppression efforts were delayed when construction workers tried to put out the blaze with a garden hose.  
It’s possible the workers didn’t even know they were performing hot work. Some tradesmen don’t know that the torches and hot tar used during resurfacing can cause roofs to retain considerable heat long after jobs are “completed”. The smoldering effect from hot work can go unnoticed, heat can build up and fires can then flare up.  
NFPA’s hot work program highlights the increased potential for fire on a roofing job, and outlines how to plan and conduct these jobs with safety in mind. For example, NFPA’s training requires a fire watch to remain onsite for at least 2 hours after work has been completed. This 120-minute waiting period is longer than the minimum monitoring time for other types of hot work jobs.  
NFPA developed the hot work training program in collaboration with Boston Fire, The City of Boston Inspectional Services and the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council to train different disciplines in the construction industry about the dangers associated with hot work, including welding, cutting, grinding and roof work. The session covers common fuel and ignition sources, relevant standards, regulations, ordinances, construction team responsibilities, and how to read a hot work permit. More than 16,000 trade members in Greater Boston have taken the mandatory NFPA hot work training to date. 

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