A fire began in a mulched area underneath an overhang constructed of wood at a supermarket complex. The fire quickly spread up and into the unprotected wooden structure along the entire front facade of the building. Most of the wooden structure burned away completely causing a large loss for the entire building complex.
The building codes in effect at the time of the original construction required automatic sprinklers. The concrete and steel (non-combustible) portions of the building were protected. However, automatic sprinklers were never installed in the concealed space in the combustible wooden roof structure even though the sprinkler contractor maintained the system and looked at the structure several times over the years during design, renovation, and addition projects.
Drake Exhibits, working with a Hughes Associates, Inc. fire protection engineer, created a series of graphic trial exhibits that illustrated several points: the history of the building's construction; modifications and relevant codes; the proper design for sprinkler protection under NFPA 13; and showed each instance when the contractor/maintenance company should have made the owner aware of the lack of proper protection.
for Kevin P. Smith of
The Law Offices of Robert Stutman PC
Fort Washington, PA