The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released its 2012 Large-Loss Fire Report. Every year, the NFPA provides information for the previous year’s large loss-fires, which are defined as any event that results in at least $10 million in property damages. The number of large-loss fires for 2012 remained the same as 2011 at 23. However, the property losses increased by over $585 million in 2012, which is most likely a result of a $400 million submarine fire.

According to the NFPA report, the 10 Costliest Large-Loss Fires of 2012 were:

Incident / Location

Loss Amount

Wildfire / Colorado

$453.7 Million

Submarine / Maine

$400 Million

Wildfire / Colorado

$113.7 Million

Printing Plant / Pennsylvania

$75 Million

Paper Mill / Minnesota

$50 Million

Vehicle Parts Manufacturer / Georgia

$50 Million

Metal Product Galvanizing Plant / Illinois

$30.5 Million

Single-Family Residence / Pennsylvania

$25 Million

Party Supply Store / California

$25 Million

Electrical Transformers / Massachusetts

$22 Million

Of the 23 large-loss fires in 2012, 18 were structure fires that resulted in a total property loss of $411.9 million. Seven of the structure fires occurred in manufacturing facilities and resulted in losses of $255 million combined. The facility types included a vehicle parts manufacturer, paper mill, paper products plant, a saw mill, a metal products manufacturer, a paraffin plant, and a printing plant. Three of the structure fires occurred in residential properties (two apartment buildings and one 30-room single-family home), which resulted in $49.9 million in losses combined.

The remaining eleven structure fires occurred in the following facilities:

  • Three residential properties (two apartment buildings and one 30-room single-family home); $49.9 million in combined losses
  • Two stores (party goods store and auto dealership); $35 million in combined losses
  • Two industrial properties (an installation of electrical transformers and power generation storage facility); $32 million in combined losses
  • Two storage properties (food storage warehouse and flammable fluid storage tank); $20 million in combined losses
  • Two “special properties” (both apartment buildings under construction); $20 million in combined losses

According to NFPA, there have been 22 fires in the last 10 years that have resulted in a loss of more than $100 million, two of which resulted in more than $1 billion in losses. To help to reduce the incidents of fires, NFPA offers the following:

Adhering to the fire protection principles reflected in NFPA’s codes and standards is essential if we are to reduce the occurrence of large loss fires and explosions in the United States. Proper construction, storage, and housekeeping will make fires less likely to occur and help control or limit the fire spread should a fire occur, while proper design, maintenance, and operation of fire protection systems and features can keep a fire that does occur from becoming a large-loss fire.

Harrington Group can help you with your fire protection and fire prevention needs, as our fire protection engineers specialize in developing solutions for structures – especially manufacturing and large distribution and warehouse facilities. Contact us today using the form below: [gravityform id=”1″ name=”Contact Us”]

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.