Waste to Energy Incinerator Fire

A series of missteps and mismanagement let to an unfortunate sequence of events which resulted in the total loss of the refuse building at the Bay County Waste-to-Energy Incinerator in Panama City, Florida on February 12, 2012. A fire broke out in the refuse pile and quickly spread due to multiple, long-standing fire protection impairments.

Hot gases from the fire plume activated zone #3 sprinklers, but no water flowed. Two water cannons and the zone #1 and #2 sprinklers were activated but those sprinklers were not located over the fire so they did not participate in controlling the fire.

Rapperport Associates was engaged to investigate the fire on behalf of the fire protection company that installed the original sprinkler system. Serious sprinkler system impairments had been discovered approximately 2 ½ months before the fire and the system had been red tagged by the sprinkler inspection company but the maintenance deficiencies were never reported to the proper authorities, as required by Florida Fire Prevention Code.

Sprinkler system impairments, due to numerous maintenance deficiencies, resulted in the complete loss of the refuse building.

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