Small Mistakes Can Lead to Big Fires

Loss Amount: $950,000

What Happened: A veterinary practice, in business for 20 years, was located in a multi-story wood frame building. The clinic operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A fire broke out and quickly spread throughout the rear portion of the building when vapors from a gas can that was placed too close to the hot water heater by a gardener were ignited by the pilot light.

The rear of the building collapsed and the remaining front portion suffered severe smoke damage. Most of the veterinary equipment, such as the MRI machine, X-ray machine, examination tables, and lab equipment was destroyed. In addition, veterinary products and drugs had to be discarded due to fire, smoke and water damage. And unfortunately, three patients of the veterinary clinic died in the fire.

The practice was closed for over 12 months while the building was being rebuilt. As a result of the closure the practice lost clientele as they established relationships with other practices in the area.

To top it off, the gardener who was responsible for placing the gas can too close to the water heater was not insured.

Lesson Learned: If at all possible, don’t allow flammable liquids to be stored on the premises. If you must store flammable liquids:

  • Never store flammable liquids near ignition sources.
  • Always store flammable liquids in UL-listed flammable liquid safety cans.
  • Obtain Certificates of Insurance from all independent contractors working on the premises. Work with your insurance agent to determine the specific certificate requirements and other Risk Transfer controls.

For further assistance in preventing all types of losses, call VISC at 888.762.3143.