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Jan 03 2017

Open Fire Door = Insurance Won’t Pay?

Category: FDAI,Fire Doors,NewsLori @ 2:04 pm Comments (6)

Yesterday I posted links to some recent news involving fire doors. One of the stories was a short piece about a fire department that accidentally set their firehouse on fire while tinkering with one of their vehicles.  But that’s not the real story here (IMO).  The important point is that their insurance company has filed a lawsuit to force the department to pay 9 million dollars to repair the damage caused by the fire.

In part, the reason the insurance company is trying to recover the money they have paid on the claim is because the firefighters were allegedly “reckless, negligent, and careless” because they worked on the vehicle in the bay of the fire station.  BUT…the lawsuit also notes that the firefighters had propped open the stairwell fire door, which allowed the fire to spread to the second floor.

This could be BIG.

If insurance companies stop paying claims because of fire door assemblies that are not properly maintained, or because a fire door was not closed and latched when the fire occurred, fire doors are going to start getting a lot more attention.  Maybe it’s only a matter of time before the insurance companies realize that fire door inspections are not being widely enforced (with the exception of health care facilities), and incorporate inspection requirements into their policies.

It will be very interesting to see what happens with this lawsuit and what impact it will have going forward.  More to come…

There’s more info about this fire and lawsuit on STATter911.

Another article about the fire and the lawsuit on lohud.

And ironically, I ran into a propped-open stairwell door at another fire station a while back, and discussed it with the safety officer.

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6 Responses to “Open Fire Door = Insurance Won’t Pay?”

  1. Jim Elder says:

    Nothing spells compliance better than getting hands in the pockets. While this seems great for the fire safety side, it’s a very slippery slope. Are the insurance companies going to take this position on other claims? If I leave my oven on? If don’t remember to turn off my space heater? or forget to put the candle out before I go to bed? The list goes on and on. The fact is, the insurance company pays when accidents happen. Accidents happen because someone screwed up; they are man-made. I think the difference in this case is that FIREFIGHTERS propped the door, and they should know better.
    Will you be following this Lori?

    • Lori says:

      I have met a lot of firefighters who had no understanding of the rules that apply to fire doors, so it’s not really that surprising that the door was propped open. I will be following it and I’ll post an update if I find one.

      – Lori


    I have encountered this situation more and more . I often point this out to the powers that be . I tell them the liability issues are astronomical and they should enforce and maintain all fire doors

  3. Grant Heppes says:

    Interesting, can’t wait to see how this develops.

  4. Leon Lestage says:

    Lori Many places do not know the value of fire doors. I worked one place where we had to check all the fire doors once every month. They had to close and latch and stay closed. And a record was kept of all doors and the ones that did not close and latch had to be fixed within two days.

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