On August 31, 1995, a fire occurred in a restaurant on the first floor of a five story building in Boston, Massachusetts. The fire originated in the grill area of the restaurant, and according to investigators, it began when cleaners were attempting to remove the grease buildup on a stove’s cooking surface by placing aluminum foil over the burners and then turning the burners on “high”. The fire eventually extended through the exhaust ductwork to a mechanical room on the fifth floor. The roof then ignited, resulting in extensive damage to the roof.
There were several contributing factors that led to the extension of the fire through the building.
- There was a flexible duct connector between the fan and the ductwork in the mechanical room on the fifth floor, which failed and allowed fire spread.
- The mechanical room was not sprinklered, nor was the cockloft area underneath the roof structure
- The wet chemical system did not discharge during the incident
- When the system was discharged by the fire department, agent did not discharge out of several of the nozzles, indicating that they were plugged and inoperable