Four-Fatality Fire in Residential Board and Care Facility, Bessemer, Alabama   [open pdf - 1MB]

"A fire at the Wilson Home for the Elderly on September 19, 1990 killed four residents. The fire is believed to have been caused by an elderly resident dropping lighted pipe tobacco or a match on a sofa having a cloth material covering a polyurethane cushion. There was no indication of a slow smoldering fire having occurred, making investigators further believe that ignition was most probably a discarded lit match, causing immediate ignition. Eleven other residents were saved by the quick action of a 16-year-old son of an employee. Although the structure was equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, the system failed to extinguish or control the fire because it was being supplied only by a 1/2-inch domestic water line, rather than a 2-inch dedicated line off the main which it should have had. The fire resulted in the deaths of four residents who were asleep in their rooms in the rear portion of the structure. Presented in Appendix F is a supplementary fire report which shows, in contrast, the effective control of a fire by a sprinkler system. A fire started by a candle was contained to the room of origin in a large, 600-bed dormitory at Montevallo State College, Alabama, on October 4, 1990."

Report Number:
USFA-TR-043/September 1990
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS)
Media Type:
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