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Loss of building due to mixed storage


A building, housing multi chemical storage, catches fire one day, and the fire soon engulfs the building causing its complete loss.

The building housed many chemicals in small amounts and the cause of the fire is uncertain

The real cause may never be discovered, as the fire was too intense to leave much evidence for analysis.  It is suspected that some bottle broke (overpressurized?) causing local damage to nearby bottles and thus causing a fire by either mixing of chemicals or by shocking some sensitive chemical.

The fire was initially small, but soon set off many other bottles which "fueled" the fire, then other materials within the building structure caught fire and propagated the fire throughout the building.  The Fire Department declared the building lost within the hour.

Lessons Learnt

Storage of chemicals should be made so as to reduce the impact of any accidental mixing.  The use of the Chemical Reactivity Worksheet from NOAA can assist in the selection of storage compatibilities.

No sprinkler system was fitted.  A suitable fire suppression system could have made a considerable difference

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