On Tuesday I visited clients burned commercial industrial warehouse building in Carson, CA which was severely damaged by a fire several months back. Things are currently going through the long slow process of city permits to re-build and our carrier hashing out the claims details with the tenant’s carrier to get the insurance claim adjusted. We’ll be writing a Builders Risk insurance policy to take care of this bad boy and get it back in shape and operational again. Here are pictures of the damage to this industrial warehouse building:
We’re officially five days away from Christmas which means that a lot of us have had their Christmas trees up in the house for a good month now. That plush vibrant green tree you bought from the local tree lot is now looking slightly brown and dried out by now. Sure, it looks pretty with all the lights and ornaments masking it, but behind the decorations be aware of the fuel load the tree brings into your home like this one here:
You don’t want this to be your tree, so for a list of 12 precautions you can take when choosing and decorating a tree, visit this link from The Travelers Indemnity Company.
A client of mine, a commercial building owner, suffered a fire on Saturday afternoon at their commercial industrial property in Gardena, CA.
Here are some pictures of the scene:
We reported and initiated the claim right away over the weekend with the carrier. Thanks to technology, we were able to get it done remotely while I was out of town.
An massive apartment complex that was under construction in downtown Los Angeles along with two other buildings were destroyed by huge fire that closed the 110 freeway and various roads early Monday morning around 1:20 AM.
The largest of the buildings destroyed was a 630-apartment complex. The 578,172-square foot development. Two other buildings were damaged by the fire, including external damage to one and several floors of a 16-story hour office tower were affected.
Check out some of the raw video footage posted on Youtube:
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
In Carlsbad, officials said at a news briefing that 22 housing structures were destroyed: four single-family homes and an 18-unit apartment building, along with two commercial buildings. The loss was estimated at $22.5 million according to the L.A. Times.
This is a pretty cool video of a helicopter maneuvering in someone’s backyard to scoop up water from a pool to help fight a wildfire.
Planes and helicopters are critical tools in managing wildfires, particularly in California where we face wildfires annually. Although aircraft are often used to fight wildfires, aircraft alone cannot put them out. Firefighters rely on planes and helicopters to:
- Deliver equipment and supplies.
- Deploy smokejumpers and rappellers to a fire.
- Transport firefighters.
- Provide reconnaissance of new fires, fire locations, and fire behavior.
- Drop fire-retardant or water to slow down a fire so firefighters can contain it.
- Ignite prescribed fires
Thanks to all our fire service personnel who help protect us when we need it. We are grateful to have them.
Source: US Fire Service
Check out these pictures showing fire damage from a car fire which spread throughout the car port it was parked under. The fire damaged solar panels affixed to the roof which are operated by an insured of mine. Good thing for property insurance. The claim has been submitted with the carrier and we’re working on getting these fixed and back in order. Not only does the property need to be replaced, but the insured will need to be compensated for lost income due to the business interruption.
Check out this video which shows a first-hand point-of-view of a firefighter fighting an interior fire of 2 story residential structure. Pretty cool perspective.
So, yes, this is a blog devoted to business insurance topics, but sometimes events happen close to home that stir interest and are worth writing about. One such event is a major fire that occurred Thursday in Sunset Beach, only a few miles from home down the road on Pacific Coast Highway.
At least three different million dollar beach-front homes were severely damaged or destroyed by an intense fire. More than 80 firefighters responded to the four-alarm blaze shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon. One of the homes involved actually collapsed from fire damage and two others sustained major damage.
Here’s some raw footage from YouTube user medxproductions:
Firefighters from Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and the county fire authority fought the blaze. The cause of the initial fire might have been an overturned barbecue grill, officials said.
The Orange County Fire Authority advised that damage to the four buildings could reach $10 million . That includes damage and contents to the four homes torched by the fire, three of which have been red-tagged and deemed uninhabitable.
One neighbor said “I always imagined that we would have an earthquake or tsunami, but never a fire. It‘s one of those things that you actually don‘t prepare for.” As an insurance agent, these are infamous last words often heard after a major loss. Sadly, many don’t feel like an event of this magnitude will ever happen to them. As a result, they might pass on insurance, or under-insure their belongings and possessions in order to “save money” on premiums.
Regardless, summer is approaching and barbecue season has arrived. Now that the season is here, it’s essential that you’re barbecuing safely. Here are some recommendations provided by the U.S. Fire Administration:
Use Barbecue Grills Safely
- Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill.
- Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking food.
- Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- Use only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.
- Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
- Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.
- If you determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame:
- Turn off the propane tank and grill.
- If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
- All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
- Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
- Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
Commercial Insurance or personal insurance, fires are a reality for all and should not be taken lightly. They don’t discriminate on who they target. Learn from events like these that this can happen to anyone. Be certain your property insurance policies are up to date with the coverages you need to protect your livelihood.
The fire erupted inside the Maxim Healthcare building which is ironically the company I used to work for almost four years ago before I transitioned into the insurance world.
“All of a sudden, the glass just burst out of the first floor window, and flames immediately started coming out,” said a Maxim Healthcare employee. Firefighters had difficulties dealing with the massive 6-alarm fire. There were people inside the building at the time the fire was reported, however everybody got out okay.
The building was filled with years of important medical files and records. “All of our records were in there, either on the computer or on paper, so they’re up in flames,” said one Maxim employee. The flames were so intense that at one point, firefighters had to back out of the structure, and smoke could be seen for miles. About 100 firefighters responded, but an official cause of the fire has not been determined.
Here are pictures taken from the scene:
Large local fires like these always hit closer to home and make people realize it could happen to anyone, anytime. What if this happened to your building, your business, your office? Are you prepared?
7 tips for fire preparedness planning:*
- Establish an Evacuation Plan: Be sure everyone can get out quickly in an emergency. Designate primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits. Make sure these routes are clearly marked, well-lit, wide enough, and clear at all times. Train your employees in evacuation procedures and practice at least annually.
- Keep an updated list of telephone numbers, including emergency personnel, hospital, public health, utilities,insurance agent, and disaster relief agencies. Include contact names and telephone numbers for customers, suppliers, and distributors. Keep a copy off site
- Protect vital records critical to your business (e.g., financial statements, account information, blueprints, product lists, etc.) Select a safe that has been tested and listed by Underwriters Laboratories UL rates safes for resistance to fire and heat, as well as resistance to burglary tools and torches. Or, keep copies offsite if possible.
- Back up all critical electronic data and programs at least daily. Backing up these valuable assets can help a business recover from a data loss or hardware failure and get back online quickly.
- Secure backup copies of critical data and programs in a physical location separate from your premises to protect against damage from theft, fire, water and other physical hazards.
- Review your current property insurance policy with your insurance agent. Be sure that you understand the coverages (e.g., buildings, personal property, personal property of others, business income, etc.), deductibles, and limits of insurance. You will need to buy separate policies for flood or earthquake damage as they are excluded perils on property insurance policies.
- Keep insurance information and contact names and numbers in a safe place. This will expedite the claim process in the event of a loss.
*Other or additional measures may be required. Talk to a risk management professional
Never think it can’t happen to you! Be prepared.