Cold Storage Facility Ignores Maintenance, Results in Half-million Dollar Bill

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cold storage facility fire protection maintenance

A multi-tenant cold storage facility had multiple dry-pipe fire sprinklers installed, regularly inspected and maintained them. They installed a nitrogen system to keep the fire protection system running better, longer, and it still works like new.

While that would be ideal, that is not what happened with a multi-tenant cold storage facility that contacted us.

From Simple Maintenance to Half a Million Dollars

The property contacted F.E. Moran Fire Protection when the dry-pipe system leaked, unnoticed, and froze. What could have been a $3,000 winter maintenance job, turned into a $500,000 repair project.

The cold storage facility was in transition when the accident happened. The building was in the process of being sold and it appears that it was not being taken care of. The accident occurred when the system tripped, filling with water. If it was found immediately, it wouldn't have been a major issue, but the property manager did not see it. The system continued to leak and eventually froze in the winter months.

Deadlines and Coordination Needs Loom

When F.E. Moran Fire Protection went to the site, they immediately noticed that regular inspections were not done and a lot of work needed to be done to get the system back in proper condition. That was not easy in a cold-storage facility with 10 degree days and several tenants operating their businesses.

The project manager needed to coordinate effectively. He scheduled the fire protection replacement installation around the schedule of the businesses, which were still in operations during the project. In addition, field staff needed to work around forklifts moving shipments all around the facility.

The difficulties continued. The property was in the middle of a sale, and the project needed to be completed before the sale finalized. After taking apart the system, they discovered that the system was not installed correctly, which was part of the reason the system leaked. The system was never installed to accommodate efficient draining.

Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance Are Not a Want, but a Need

In the end, the project manager was able to coordinate with the cold storage tenants to complete the fire protection replacement while they continued their daily operations. The foremen conducted a daily meeting with tenants to coordinate efforts.

While this was happening, F.E. Moran Fire Protection was getting pressured by the sales broker to complete the project faster. In the end, they explained that the system needed to be replaced and it would be finished on time.

The project could have cost as little as $3,000 if inspection, testing, and maintenance were completed regularly, but, because of neglect, the project turned into a half a million dollar service call.

Gavin Hanson, Vice President of F.E. Moran Fire Protection said, "A select few fire sprinkler companies in our market would have been able to complete this project. The team performed exceptionally. This replacement is a classic example of how inspection, testing, and maintenance are a need. Not a maybe. ITM needs to be done to avoid situations like this."

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