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Judge rules firefighters made warehouse fire worse. Orders city to pay insurance company $3.7 million.

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The City of Laval, north of Montreal, Canada has been ordered by a judge to pay almost $3.7 million to Factory Mutual Insurance Company because Laval firefighters made a warehouse fire eight years ago worse by starting a second fire. The original fire was in a storage room at the Dyne-a-Pak foam plant on September 25, 2004. According to SunNews, firefighters using a saw, accidentally started a second fire:

They used a chainsaw to cut a hole in a ceiling across the hall from where the fire was raging. Sparks from the saw ignited rolls of polystyrene, causing a second fire.

It took 11 hours to put out the blaze, and the warehouse was heavily damaged.

In a Dec. 13 ruling, Judge Andre Roy agreed the chainsaw caused the second fire.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Chris

    Yikes. No good deed…

  • Fire21

    Let me see. Can an axe striking the wrong object make sparks?…Yep, throw them out. Can a Halligan do that?…Yep, throw them out too. And throw out pry bars, all saws, most extrication tools, and all radios. Hey, let’s take the fire service back to the 1880s when men had leather lungs, and courts didn’t feel pressure to be politically correct.

    Maybe as a public service we’re just feeling persecuted after a decision like this one, but it’s a sad world indeed when folks do their best to help others, and get sued because their efforts didn’t produce the finest results. Not all firefighting efforts are completely done the exactly correct way, but at least we tried, and that’s more than most folks would do!!

  • IDLH

    Doesn’t surprise me that the fire department lost. I would venture that the hole they were cutting was no where near where it needed to be. They will probably get out of paying somehow though. They always do and others continue to cover for poor decisions. Just see the above posts.

    • Fire21

      You’re doing a lot of venturing: Wrong location for the hole, they’re gonna get out of paying, and the dept made poor decisions. Offer us proof of one of your theories.

    • play4keeps

      Yes, they just got on the roof and started cutting away for the fun of it. And now the FD “will get away with it” because the idea of opening a roof is a poor decision. Are you serious? By your own admitance, nothing suprises you, so I guess that’s your logic

  • doobis

    Canada – I wonder if they have soverign immunity laws like the US?

  • OldSutterOne

    In Calif. FD immunity is pretty well upheld by the courts, the exception would be the “Marysville” decision from the ’70′s (I believe). On the flip side, owing to the “Fireman’s Rule” its pretty hard for the us to go for damages when one of our own are a casualty. An exception being willful conduct, withholding information like the presense of hazardous materials is an example.

  • Glowworm

    So I fopund the decsion here:

    http://www.jugements.qc.ca/php/decision.php?liste=65584695&doc=0595FEACDC7E82F09A4D8D2E97EC1A1C97CDAEB6FA5C6F0F8DD950928C5640CE&page=1

    It is in French but if Bing didn’t do a terrible job traslating here is what I got.

    The fire started in a room containg rolls of polystyrene around 4:13. Construction of this room and the second room which also contained polystyrene rolls were apropriatly rated for the fire load. An offensive attack on room 1 was conducted until 5:15 when it was determined to pull outdue to fire conditions.

    At 9:30 a trench cut was started over room 2, at that time there was no evidence of fire in room 2. There was a 30 foot wide corridor between the rooms which did not have evidence of fire damage after the fire(s) were extinguished.

    The trench cut was through a steel decked roof. Acording to reports it was SOP to have a line present when cutting through steel decking but none was present in this case. Witness accouncts also state that fire department officers had been advised of the flammable nature of the rooms contents.

    Fire appeared in room 2 shortly after the trench was cut.

    The court found that the trench was not cut in accordence with normal standards, company SOPs or regard for the materials present in the room and thus the fire company caused the fire and is liable.