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A fully sprinklered building burns to the ground – what happened?

The JENSEN HUGHES forensic team provides comprehensive technical support for litigation involving the performance of automatic sprinkler systems.  Sprinkler systems are designed to operate automatically to control, suppress or extinguish fires in buildings.  Building and fire codes mandate sprinkler systems in certain types of buildings; additionally insurance companies may require that sprinkler systems be installed in occupancies that they insure.  Picture_Section - Services_Forensic_Sprinkler SystemsWhen a fire in a sprinklered building is not controlled by the sprinkler system, there are large financial consequences and sometimes loss of life.  Many questions arise, such as: why was fire able to damage or destroy a fully sprinklered building?  Our experts on fire protection systems establish the enforceable code requirements and conduct a forensic engineering analysis to determine the reasons for the failure.  It is important to determine if the system, as installed, was consistent with design documents and applicable codes and standards.  A scene investigation typically includes a forensic examination of the piping; this can be done even in buildings that are destroyed by the fire.  In addition to examining systems for obvious mechanical problems, such as closed valves or blockages in the pipe, our team will evaluate the water supply, including the performance of fire pumps, elevated tanks or connections to municipal water systems, and the condition of underground fire water distribution mains.

Our expertise ranges from construction industry practices, inspection testing and maintenance of sprinkler systems, to the science of fire dynamics.  Analysis of fire dynamics will reflect on how a fire will grow and spread, and how the fire will respond to the presence of a water spray.  Because of their many years of experience with full-scale fire testing involving sprinklered fire scenarios, JENSEN HUGHES’ experts are able to comment on the probable performance of a sprinkler system if certain fuel types or system defects had not been present.  A professionally written, accurate engineering report based on our expertise provides critical support for litigation arising from the failure of a sprinkler system to control fire in a building.

Contact Us Today:

Contact us today using our online form or by contacting one of our many regional branches.  For specific questions regarding JENSEN HUGHES’ Sprinkler Systems forensic services, please contact:

Dan Gottuk, PhD
dgottuk@jensenhughes.com
+1 410-737-8677