Tag Archives: fire suppression services

Fire at West L.A. High-Rise Sends Residents Scrambling for Safety; Two Critically Injured | Corona, CA

By Hannah Fry, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Luke Money, Sonja Sharp

JAN. 29, 2020 9:54 PM

A fire broke out Wednesday morning in a 25-story Westside residential building, sending residents climbing out windows and fleeing to the rooftop to escape the flames. The blaze, which erupted on the sixth floor at the Barrington Plaza apartments in the 11700 block of Wilshire Boulevard, was reported shortly after 8:30 a.m. by fire crews, who were tending a nearby blaze that had begun earlier.

At least 300 firefighters responded to help battle the fire and evacuate residents inside the building. Eleven residents were injured; seven were sent to a hospital for treatment, including a 3-month-old baby, and four were treated at the scene. Most were suffering from smoke inhalation. Two firefighters suffered minor burns.

One 30-year-old man required CPR and was listed in grave condition Wednesday afternoon, and another 30-year-old man was in critical condition, according to Los Angeles Fire Capt. Erik Scott. “The preliminary information is the two most critically injured … were both in the unit of fire origin,” Scott said.

Fire officials initially reported that some people had jumped from the building to escape the flames. Authorities later clarified that two people contemplated jumping but were rescued by fire officials. Residents crawled on their bellies through thick smoke to escape. One man was seen clinging to a ledge before a fire ladder was hoisted up to him. “This could have been much worse,” Scott said.

Fire officials said residents won’t be allowed back into the building overnight while they investigate the blaze, which was deemed suspicious.

Firefighters took an unconventional approach in battling the flames, hosing the building from the outside in an effort to cool the units before allowing firefighters to tackle the flames inside. The bulk of the fire was on the sixth floor of the 240-unit high-rise, though three other levels were damaged by smoke, officials said.

While some crews focused on the fire inside, others were tasked with evacuations. At least 15 people, some in bathrobes, were airlifted to safety from the building’s rooftop. Officials said it was the first time the fire chopper had been used in rescue efforts. “This was a herculean effort by the members of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” said Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas. “It takes a lot of coordination, and our resources did a good job.”

After an intense, hourlong battle that was made more challenging by strong winds gusting up to 35 mph, firefighters were able to knock down the flames shortly before 10 a.m. Deputy Police Chief Justin Eisenberg said the Los Angeles Police Department and arson investigators were studying the blaze to determine whether it was criminal or accidental. No one has been arrested in connection with the fire, he said. The separate fire that started earlier in the morning about three blocks away also is part of the investigation.

Mackenzie Williams, 25, said she was driving to work at Pure Barre — a fitness studio at Wilshire Boulevard and Granville Avenue — about 9 a.m. when she “saw one firetruck pass by me, then I saw two, then I saw 10, then I saw about 20, so I definitely knew something was going on.” After seeing smoke pouring from the building and the helicopter evacuations, she said, “I just hope everyone is OK over there.”

John Tavakoli was outside when the floor where his grandmother lives burst into flames. As firefighters rushed to evacuate her and her neighbors, his initial horror settled into smoldering rage — another fire like this one had burned here a few years ago, but little had changed. Like others, he blamed the revolving door of short-term renters for unsafe conditions in the building.

“A lot of people Airbnb here.” he said. “They party all night — they’re up until 2 a.m. on a Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, he said, safety issues have gone unaddressed.

“Our rent goes up, utilities go up, but one elevator’s always broken,” he said.

Resident Gavyn Straus stood barefoot on the sidewalk, holding a towel around his American-flag bathing suit as he watched a Sheriff’s Department helicopter hoisting stranded neighbors off the roof. He had been in the pool swimming laps when he turned his head for a breath and noticed the smoke. Right away, he leaped out of the pool and dashed up to alert neighbors on his floor.

The smoke “was like a black wall” on the seventh floor, he said. Higher up, he started banging on doors, telling neighbors to get out.

Twins Kristina and Kimberly Pagano, recent UCLA grads, were asleep in their apartment when the fire broke out. They woke up to the sound of firetrucks. Moments later, the building fire alarm went off, and they rushed outside.

Both immediately thought of the 2013 fire, believed to have been sparked by a cigarette. The building still allows residents to smoke in their units on designated floors, which the sisters had toured before moving in. Like others, they said the building hosts a large number of short-term visitors.

“We always see people with luggage,” Kristina said.

“It’s like a hotel,” Kimberly agreed.

Officials have said that there is no indication the fire was caused by anyone smoking inside or that it broke out in a unit rented as an Airbnb. The building is covered by L.A.’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which limits annual rent increases for tenants, but some of its units are exempt from that law, according to housing department spokeswoman Sandra Mendoza. Under an ordinance that went into effect last year, Angelenos cannot rent out their apartments for short stays if they live in a rent-stabilized unit.

The 2013 fire erupted on the 11th floor of the building, displacing up to 150 residents and injuring two people. It also raised concerns about a lack of sprinkler systems in some buildings in Los Angeles. Barrington Plaza was not equipped with a sprinkler system at the time. Because it was built nearly 60 years ago, it does not fall under state regulations later adopted that forced buildings taller than 75 feet to include such fire-suppression systems unless granted an exemption.

Los Angeles has a loophole in its fire code that allows 71 residential high-rises to house tenants despite having no fire sprinklers in the buildings. The structures were built between 1943 and 1974, when new codes required sprinklers.

Deputy Chief Armando Hogan said Wednesday the building still does not have sprinklers. There have been repeated attempts to require older buildings to install sprinkler systems, including a push after Barrington Plaza’s last fire, but landlords at the time argued they would cost too much.

A year ago, the City Council again tabled a proposal to require sprinklers in all buildings. One of the sponsors of the measure said the issue lost momentum amid opposition from landlords, but Councilman Mike Bonin said he will reintroduce a mandate for sprinklers in light of the latest blaze.

Curtis Massey, chief executive of fire safety consulting company Massey Emergency Management, said the sprinkler systems typically seen in modern high-rises quickly douse flames before they have a chance to spread. “It’s like an on-duty 24-hour firefighter that’s able to respond faster in most circumstances to a fire than the building staff or the fire department,” said Massey, whose company has worked on fire preparedness plans for Century Plaza and the Wilshire Grand Center.

Modern fire safety features also include elevator and stairwell-pressurization systems that keep the smoke out of those areas, he said.

In 2014, a group of tenants in the high-rise sued the building’s corporate owner for negligence. According to residents, several fire alarms failed to sound in Barrington Plaza as the October 2013 blaze spread. A door to the roof was locked and the stairwells filled with choking smoke, tenants said. “The conditions at the supposedly high-end apartment building were atrocious,” attorney Mark Geragos said at the time.

Resident Ivo Gerscovich’s 2-year-old daughter and father-in-law were found unconscious in a smoke-filled stairwell above the 20th floor during the 2013 fire. “It’s a deathtrap,” Gerscovich said then. “It’s totally insane and indefensible.” Ben Meiselas, an attorney with Geragos’ firm, said the building “is a relic of the 1960s.” “It conformed to codes of the 1960s, and since that time, they’ve availed themselves through grandfather clauses of the building codes of that bygone era,” he said.

Meiselas said building owners should be required to prominently display whether their structures adhere to current codes. “You have this building that advertises itself as a class-A luxury building, but back in 2013, at least, it really had fundamental safety issues,” he said.

Residents said that they weren’t aware of any additional safety measures. “This situation really scares me,” said Ploy Pengsomboon, who was able to evacuate from her ninth-floor unit only after smelling smoke and hearing firetruck sirens. “I’m scared if one day I’m in a deep sleep and something like this happens. I didn’t get a chance to prepare. They should tell everyone to get out and shouldn’t let us learn about it ourselves.”

The blaring of a fire alarm woke 84-year-old Dan Karzen, who has lived in Barrington Plaza for 20 years. “I had my pajamas on, so I had to hurry to put some clothes on, grab my phone and walk out the door of my 16th-floor apartment,” Karzen said. “I knew it was bad because there was all this smoke.”

After leaving the building, he crossed the street to a strip mall, where he stopped to await word from fire officials. “I don’t know when we’re going to go back in, and I don’t want to leave because all my stuff is up there,” he said.

When Liz Bowers was jolted awake by sirens, she smelled smoke and immediately thought it couldn’t be another fire, remembering the 2013 blaze. But when she looked out her window, there it was. “I was like … it’s Tower A again,” she said. She had a clear view of the flames and clouds of black smoke. She could hear screams and windows blowing out from the heat of the flames. Bowers ran downstairs to the public pool area shared by the two buildings and continued watching as firefighters worked to quell the flames and rescue residents. After witnessing the dramatic events, she decided she’d had enough. She needs to move out.

Bowers thought about all the times she could smell cigarette and marijuana smoke from her apartment, the result of little oversight from building managers, she said. She spent three years knocking on the leasing office’s door, writing letters and making phone calls to building managers. Eventually, she gave up. “They should have put sprinklers in after the [2013] fire,” she said. “They let everybody smoke. There’s a lot of Airbnb [rentals]. You get all these people coming into party and smoke pot. The landlords don’t care.”

Times staff writers Matt Stiles, Dakota Smith, Colleen Shalby, Andrew J. Campa, Emily Alpert Reyes, James Rainey and Matthew Ormseth contributed to this report.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Which Fire Suppression System Is Best? | Corona, CA

When you hear the words fire suppression, what do you think of? For many of us, it would include things like fire extinguishers and fire sprinklers. But there are lots of ways that a fire can be suppressed. The real issue is which method is best for you. Electronics-filled datacenters, where traditional fire sprinklers are not only ineffective, but can potentially be very damaging to the assets they’re meant to protect. But for other buildings, those fire sprinklers are exactly what you need. Fire suppression systems come in many different styles and can be incredibly useful for a variety of industries:

  • For kitchen environments, wet chemicals such as potassium carbonate are often used.
  • In areas with high volumes of flammable liquids, many suppression systems tend to use foams, such as custom detergents or polysaccharides.
  • Areas sensitive to liquid damage, such as datacenters, medical offices, and libraries, peptafluoropropane (a colorless halocarbon gas) can suppress fire without damaging paper or electronics.
  • In areas with explosive fluids, such as gasoline, solvents, or propane, dry chemical suppressants are often used, such as sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate, or Monnex (potassium allophananate).
  • Unoccupied areas, such as transformer vaults and electrical containment rooms, carbon dioxide may be used.
  • Finally, in places where ordinary substances need to be protected, simple water or water mist may be used.

Because there are a number of different federal, state and local codes to follow, and industry best practices to consider when designing, installing, and maintaining your fire suppression system, consulting with an expert is vital to complying with the law and maintaining a safe environment for both people and assets.

For more information about fire suppression systems, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Why Maintenance Is Necessary | Corona, CA

automatic-fire-sprinkler-systems

It seems like we have gotten through the summer with little instances of the wildfires typically present in our area, but we aren’t quite past the fire season just yet. The next couple months will dictate if we will continue this lucky streak. But whether or not we have a wildfire strike, we should always be ready. And if you have installed a fire suppression system, it’s time to do a little bit of maintenance.

The maintenance regime needed depends on the suppression system and use case. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has guidelines not only for the types of systems that should be used in various settings, but also for the ongoing maintenance of those systems for proper compliance and safety purposes.

The type of system installed, and the nature of the building it is protecting, will determine how often it must be inspected, how often it should be tested, and what type of labor will be required on the system over time. A skilled system designer will not only design the system but can also assist you in establishing and meeting the maintenance and inspection requirements in order to keep your system functioning properly. This way, if a fire were to occur, lives and property can be saved.

Regular maintenance will identify minor problems before they turn into system failures, allowing you to correct them quickly and inexpensively before they fail. With automatic scheduling of maintenance activities, you never need to worry about surprise fire department inspections – you’ll be up to date, properly maintained, properly inspected, and fully functional whenever the fire department decides to visit.

For more information about suppression system maintenance, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Dozens of Massachusetts Homes Exploded. A Gas Expert Weighs In. | Corona, CA

by RACHEL GUTMAN

SEP 14, 2018

WCVB / AP

Investigators still don’t know what happened, but there’s one likely explanation.

Late Thursday, dozens of explosions erupted in three towns in northern Massachusetts. As many as 70 fires, explosions, and suspected gas leaks were reported to state police, with at least 39 homes affected in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. One person was killed when a chimney collapsed on his car, and at least 25 more people were reportedly treated for injuries.

In a statement, Columbia Gas said a total of 8,600 customers will be without service until safety teams can ensure that their homes and businesses are leak-free.

A widespread series of explosions like the one in Massachusetts is “really rare,” says Robert Jackson, a professor of energy and environmental science at Stanford University. Jackson’s studies focus on the environmental impacts of natural gas, and he has mapped thousands of gas leaks in cities around the country, including Boston. He told me that such an event is “unprecedented in recent years,” since explosions are usually isolated to a single building.

Jackson is not involved in investigating the Massachusetts explosions, but he was able to offer some insight into what could have caused such a strange, dramatic incident. The most likely explanation, he says, is the one most reports have speculated: Pipelines in the towns became suddenly over-pressurized. In the same way that high-voltage power lines traverse hundreds of miles before breaking off into lower-voltage tributaries in neighborhoods, natural-gas delivery systems consist of both long-distance, high-pressure pipelines and local ones that are only nominally pressurized and deliver gas into homes. Neighborhood pipelines are usually designed to withstand two to three times their normal operating pressure, but any increase makes gas more likely to escape.

“I can’t imagine another explanation for this event than a flush of pressurized gas,” Jackson says.

If local lines indeed were suddenly inundated with high-pressure gas, Jackson says, that could result in an explosion in one of two ways. First, the pipes themselves could explode. Second—and more likely, according to Jackson—excess pressure could have caused gas to leak out of pipes and valves and into homes, where it could be ignited by a pilot light and send whole buildings up in flames.

In most cases, according to Jackson, such rapid pressurization would be caused by a failure at a valve that separates high- and low-pressure pipelines. As for what would lead to such a failure, Jackson says, it could be that “somebody made a mistake. To flip the wrong valve, leave a junction open. Human error is the most common source of natural-gas explosions.”

Columbia Gas’s website announced an improvement campaign just a few hours before the explosions began, though no evidence has yet linked the explosions to pipeline updates or botched repairs. (A spokesperson for Columbia Gas did not respond to a request for comment.)

A flush of gas could also occur if older valves leak or break. In 2015, Jackson and his colleagues found that cities like Cincinnati that replaced their aging pipelines had 90 percent fewer gas leaks a mile than older cities like Boston that relied on older, cast-iron pipes. Across the country, Jackson says, many local pipelines are more than a century old—including in Boston, the closest major city his team studied to Thursday’s explosions.

Even though natural-gas leaks are fairly common, serious consequences aren’t. From 1998 to 2017, 15 people a year, on average, died in incidents related to gas distribution in the U.S. “Significant incidents”—those that do things such as cause an injury or death, result in at least $50,000 of damage, or lead to a fire or explosion—happen about 286 times a year.

That might sound like a lot. But then again, the streets of Boston carry an average of four gas leaks a mile.

 

How to Protect a Datacenter from Fire | Corona, CA

Do you know what a datacenter is? Datacenters are built specifically to house millions of dollars of expensive electronics and contain custom-built solutions for everything from cooling to power continuity and generation. Due to the 24/7 nature of datacenters, most systems are designed for redundancy and fail-safe operation with cabinets of battery-powered, uninterruptible power supplies reside to complement generators.

But what if there’s a fire? Computers present a unique fire suppression challenge – they’re easily damaged by water, are typically contained in a metal box that will shelter a fire from overhead sprays, and they require significant amounts of electricity that presents an electrocution risk for standard suppression systems. Because of this, typical datacenter suppression systems come with two complementary systems – one wet, and one dry.

Modern alternatives tend to be either inert gas systems (where an inert gas is pumped into the datacenter to smother the fire by depriving it of oxygen) or clean agent systems, where halocarbon molecules are pumped in and absorb heat, extinguishing the fire.

While dry systems are often the first line of defense, due to their ability to extinguish fire without damaging equipment, a second water-based system is typically available. Best practices often dictate that the pipes above the datacenter itself be dry – that is, pipes are not filled with water until a fire is indicated, at which point the pipes are filled. Typical configuration allows the clean agent or inert gas system to attempt to put out the fire long before the heat allows a sprinkler to discharge.

For more information about datacenter fire protection, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

The Hermitage gets an Upgrade

The Hermitage

The Hermitage mansion, home of the seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson, recently received a renovation for fire suppression, three full decades after the last time the fire protection system was upgraded.

The Hermitage has had quite a few brushes with fire, starting from 1834, when a chimney fire heavily damaged the house. While rebuilding the house to be more fashionable, Jackson also added several precautions in case of a future fire, including a metal roof and white fireproof paint to cover the smoke-damaged brick.

This year, the Hermitage is receiving yet another renovation to improve its fire protection system. The new system is funded in partnership with the State of Tennessee and was created with the expertise of the Nashville Fire Marshal’s Office.

For the past thirty years, the mansion utilized a traditional fire sprinkler system, which functions by soaking an area with large quantities of water to suppress a fire until the fire department can arrive and extinguish it. The old system was dependent on strong water pressure to expel water, but continued building in the area has since diminished the Hermitage’s water pressure. The combination of the low water pressure and the site’s existing piping meant that the Hermitage was no longer able to support a traditional sprinkler system.

The new fire protection system utilizes automatic mist fire suppression, allowing it to extinguish fires faster than the traditional system while using far less water. The reduction in water sprayed also means less damage to historic objects inside the mansion and the structure itself in the case that the sprinklers do engage. This results in less time and money spent on cleaning and repairing in the aftermath of a fire.

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/02/16/hermitage-installs-new-fire-protection-andrew-jackson-home/309299002/

Foam: Not Just for Your Coffee Anymore | Corona, CA

As we begin the new year, we tend to think of different ways to improve upon ourselves. Sometimes it isn’t just our health that should be considered. If you are looking to keep you and yours safe and healthy this year, think about the way you can protect yourselves against any home accidents, especially fire prevention. While there may be lots of ways you can be prepared for a fire, one way to keep yourselves safe is a foam fire suppression system.

So, what is foam suppression? Engineered and manufactured, foam fire suppression systems ensure a rapid, thorough and economical response to fires and spills. A light, voluminous foam blanket produced by our high-expansion foam systems can quickly obtain great heights, reaching elevated flammable materials. This foam blanket efficiently transports small amounts of water to the fire, encapsulating the flammable vapors, causing suppression and extinguishment.

Customized to application specifications, engineered systems include: bladder tanks and pump-type balanced-pressure proportioning systems, in-line balanced-pressure proportioning systems, high-expansion foam systems, large dry chemical systems and skids, twin-agent systems and skids, foam trailers, large dry chemical and twin-agent trailers, monitor trailers, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) pump systems, water-powered AFFF pump skids, foam/water monitors, nozzles, eductors, ratio-flow controllers, foam makers and chambers, specialized proportioning storage and monitor trailers.

Useful for various purposes, high-expansion foam systems provide protection for the following applications: aircraft hangars, basements, cable tunnels, flammable packaging areas, flammable liquid drum storage areas, hazardous waste facilities, LNG tank farms and loading facilities, mines, roll-paper warehouses, shipboard engine rooms, bilges, and holds, storage buildings, warehouses, and fire breaks.

 

CJ Suppression: For all Your Fire Suppression Needs | Corona, CA

fire extinguisher trainingHere at CJ Suppression, we offer a multitude of fire protection services that fit all your fire needs. We are dedicated to supplying top notch service and providing our customers with quality end results. How can we help you with fire safety? Here’s a list of services we provide:

Inspections/certifications. Per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 25 California Edition codebook, all fire protection systems are required to be inspected and certified. Our trained technicians perform all required inspections.

Title 19 (5-year Inspection). This procedure inspects all components of your fire protection system and is performed every five years.

Backflow. Testing and certification is required annually in most jurisdictions.

Flow tests. The most popular reasons for hydrant flow testing is for system inspection/certification or water flow requirements being obtained for system hydraulic calculation design.

Kitchen hoods. We perform installation, inspection, testing, certification and cleaning of kitchen hoods per NFPA codes requirements.

Maintenance. Maintaining of all fire protection systems is key to ensure proper operation during a fire event. We can provide a structured maintenance program with automatic scheduling within our in-house database, so you don’t have to worry about scheduled maintenance or surprise fire department inspections.

Repairs. We provide repair service of any type of fire protection system from underground fire line to overhead wet, dry or special hazard systems.

24-hr emergency service. Our on-call staff can facilitate support for any type of emergency around the clock.

Employee training. We provide education and training sessions of all types of fire protection systems to employees and or management.

For more information about fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

Accepting patients from Chino, Ontario, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Rialto, Fontana and all surrounding areas.

Prevent Accidental Fires with Fire Sprinklers | Corona, CA

Accidental fires always have the potential to devastate and even end lives. Though, the risk is even more imminent with high-rise buildings. This is because fire fighters often have a hard time dealing with fires in such places. This is mostly because of how hard it is for them to reach the higher floors of such buildings.

It’s no secret that flames can grow and spread rather quickly. Though, when it comes to fires, it’s not the flames that you have to worry most about. Rather, you have to worry more about the rising temperature and the toxic gases that can kill you if you inhale enough of it. While most cities are equipped with competent and able firefighters and fire departments, it’s not like they can teleport directly onto the scene of the fire. It typically takes fire fighters around 10 minutes to arrive at the scene. By then, the fire may have already spread too much, damaging most of the establishment and leaving families displaced, or in worse cases, lives lost.

With fire sprinklers, however, such disasters can be prevented. Even if the fire sprinklers aren’t able to fully extinguish the fire, it can contain the flames enough to allow residents enough time to escape safely without inhaling much of the toxic gases. To put simply, fire sprinklers can prevent fires from becoming such huge disasters, all at the fraction of the cost of what it usually would to repair any damage resulting from accidental fires.

For more information about fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

Accepting patients from Chino, Ontario, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Rialto, Fontana and all surrounding areas.

Why It’s Important to Design Your Fire System | Corona, CA

When starting a new business, it’s important to prepare for the worst. Accidents happen, so staying prepared is necessary in order to continue to be successful. If you have a new business or are looking for a fire system, consider creating a personalized fire system, customized to your space’s needs.

Because not every business is the same, developing a fire system can ensure you are protecting your business, and everyone in it, is a smart choice. Through a series of comprehensive steps, you can create a system well suited for any environment. In this multi-step process, you can discover what exactly needs protection, and how much protection is needed. An experienced engineering department will then conduct detailed studies to determine the optimum approach to providing the correct system application that will cost-effectively meet your specific needs.

After the assessment, you will have several options with appropriate alternatives based on an assessment of the fire protection and life safety needs:

  • Fire sprinkler design drawings with as much detail required
  • Designs based around the latest NFPA codes. All schematic CAD drawings include underground fire supply, riser details with location within structure, main and branch line locations, and sprinkler head type and location.
  • Bi drawings include back up specifications, water analysis, and hydraulic calculations.
  • Fire sprinkler fabrication / installation / coordination drawings include all compliments listed above including computer generated shop drawings, hydraulic calculations and material submittals.
  • Fire Pump and/or Ground Storage Tank installation drawings with all associated piping and equipment.
  • Special hazard suppression system fabrication / installation drawings.

For more information about fire systems, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

Accepting patients from Chino, Ontario, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Rialto, Fontana and all surrounding areas.