6 Alarm Fire Leads to Suit in Arizona

A six-alarm warehouse fire in June of 2012 has resulted in a lawsuit against the cities of Gilbert and Mesa over problems with water supply.

The fire destroyed the Farnsworth Wholesale Company’s warehouse, causing over $8 million in damages. When crews arrived on scene, they were initially unable to locate a functioning fire hydrant.

The lawsuit was filed by Nationwide Insurance who along with AMCO Insurance insured the premises. The suit alleges that the delay in locating a functioning hydrant led to the fire becoming as destructive as it was. Nationwide claims that the city of Gilbert and the city of Mesa were responsible for failing to maintain the hydrant system. Mesa originally owned and maintained the water supply system, but it was turned over to Gilbert in 2003.

The suit also alleges that the Gilbert Fire Department was negligent in fighting the fire in part because firefighters failed to supply the building’s fire department connection.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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