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.