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Fire Code Violations

June 13, 2024

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Explore fire code violations with Chief Greg Rogers and Chief Brittany Brown on the latest episode of Western Fire Chief Association’s Fire Headlines Podcast.

In this episode of Fire Headlines, host Samantha Didion sits down with Brittany Brown, Chief of Fire Prevention at the South Adams County Fire Department in Commerce City, Colorado, as well as Greg Rogers, retired Deputy Chief at the Spokane Valley Fire Department, Washington.

Today’s panel discussion focuses on fire code violations. A recent article in the Daily Dispatch tells the story of a Home Depot store in San Jose, California, that was fined $1.3 million for fire code violations following an arson incident that completely destroyed the store, which spanned over 98,000 square feet.

Chief Rogers shares his takeaways first, stating that it is uncommon for a jurisdiction to issue a citation after a fire has occurred, as liability typically falls to the insurance company. The article states that investigators found that the store’s sprinkler system had been disabled at the time of the fire, and that Home Depot was made aware that it wasn’t working but did not fix it. The article does not state who informed the store of the faulty sprinkler system. If it was the sprinkler contractor who informed the store, then typically they inform the fire department as well. From there, the store is given a certain amount of time to fix the issue or else a citation is given.

Chief Brown shares insights on conducting fire investigations for incidents of this magnitude. She explains that fire alarms and sprinkler systems contain a wealth of data that can help pinpoint the fire’s origin. In a sense, these systems “tattle” on when and where the fire began. Fire investigators can then use burn patterns and interviews to further guide their investigation.

You can email Fire Headlines at [email protected].

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