This is What Can Happen When the Sprinkler System Doesn’t Work…

The previous post on fire protection systems training talked about systems and the importance of maintaining that equipment.  The following describes one instance and the consequences if the sprinkler system isn’t operational.

On December 1, 2008 a warehouse building, located in Dyersburg Tennessee and owned by the Bekaert Corporation, was destroyed by fire. The building complex is shown in the photo below.

 

The wing on the left was the side that was completely destroyed. At the time of the fire, the warehouse had been leased to Briggs and Stratton for storage of their lawn mower products.  It was later determined that Briggs and Stratton lost approximately $25,000,000.00 in inventory.  When the lease was signed, one of the clauses stated that Briggs accepted the building in an “As Is, Where Is” condition.  It also required Briggs to make any repairs required by codes to bring the building into compliance.  Codes, in turn, required that Briggs obtain a certificate of occupancy prior to moving into the building – neither of which were done.  (Our involvement in this investigation was as a codes consultant.)  Briggs moved in to the building, brought in their products and stacked them to the point where the use of the building would have been classified “High Piled Storage”.  For over one year, the building contained products that were put at risk by the manufacturer, Briggs and Stratton.  When the investigation into the fire had been completed, there were some differing opinions as to the cause of the fire.  However, most of the discussion was centered on a metal halide lamp and a bulb that possibly exploded.  Because most of Briggs’ products were stacked above 12 feet, the explosion of a metal halide bulb could easily have ignited combustible material, ie, pallets wrapped with plastic. With no sprinkler system in operation, there was no way to stop the fire in its initial stages.  As a result, the building and all its contents were destroyed.

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Toro Lawn Mower Defective Carburetor

Toro brand lawn mowers have recently come under attack by consumers for producing bad products.  Usually I am on the other end of a defective product but, this time I happen to be one of those consumers.  I purchased a Toro “Personal Pace” lawn mower last year and used it with good results all spring and summer.  This year, however, we started having problems. Although I could get the mower started, it would visibly shake and shortly thereafter, cut out.  If it kept going long enough for me to start cutting grass, no more than a minute into cutting and the engine would die.  It just would not continue to run.  The mower was taken to a Toro dealer, Southern Lawn and Equipment, where they supposedly cleaned the carburetor and it ran fine for them.  Once back home and in the grass, it didn’t take long before it started idling roughly and cutting out again.  The mower was returned to the dealer and this time they noticed that the choke was sticking.  The choke was adjusted and the mower returned.  Once again, after attempting to cut grass, the engine started cutting out again.  The third time that the mower was taken to the dealer, the dealer decided that the carburetor had to be replaced and that it would NOT be repaired under warranty.  It should be noted that Briggs and Stratton warranties the engine for three years and Toro would NOT stand behind the warranty.  The mower in question is shown in the photographs below. So, now we have a useless mower. Buyer Beware!

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