Major Shipping Port Warehouse Fire


PRONET CONDUCTS FIRE ORIGIN & CAUSE INVESTIGATION, STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY EVALUATION AND ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING INSPECTION

Areas of expertise include fire O&C, structural engineering, electrical engineering, forensics, and subrogation

Scenario
A fire occurred in a large 200,000 square foot transit shed and warehouse facility at one of the largest shipping ports in the U.S. ProNet Group was retained to conduct:

  • Fire origin & cause investigation;
  • Structural integrity assessment, scope of damage and repair, and building code compliance;
  • Electrical engineering evaluation pertaining to the scope of damage and repair for lighting and associated electrical equipment throughout the facility, and electrical code requirements.

Additional Information
Fire Origin & Cause - The warehouse was filled with highly flammable items, but which none were competent energy sources. Through the investigative interview process, a witness disclosed that it was observed that a forklift in the area was sparking and smoking.

Structural Engineering - ProNet Group inspected the building's structural framing and components, and advise on any areas that should be repaired or replaced, and review of contracted consultant's repair recommendations. ProNet's engineers also reviewed code compliance for remaining undamaged portions of the structure.

Electrical Engineering – additional major components evaluated included the panelboard, distribution panels, stepdown transformer, PVC pipe, conduits and wires, general power distribution system, and communications termination board.

Outcome
Fire Origin & Cause – ProNet identified the aforementioned forklift as the competent energy source in the area of origin. ProNet’s origin & cause expert worked with the insurance carrier’s subrogation department and outside counsel to lead the joint destructive evidence examination.

Structural Engineering– ProNet's assessment determined that replacement of the damaged structure along with remediation of remaining undamaged portions was required to maintain structural integrity and meet current building code requirements.

Electrical Engineering – ProNet determined that the necessary repair work met the energy codes, that the energy code required additional lighting controls, and which lighting fixtures were damaged by the fire and in need of repair versus those that were still serviceable. Additionally, the reflectors were found to be severely impaired and that a majority of the reflector degradation was due to lack of maintenance and not related to the fire. Other electrical systems and components such as general power distribution system and communications termination board did not show signs of fire damage, but degradation issues were caused by lack of proper maintenance.