Overnight Construction Fire Destroys Condo Development

Posted by Neil Goulding on April 20, 2021

On Monday, April 19, 2021, a fire swept through a condo development under construction in Langley, British Columbia, a municipality in the Metro Vancouver Regional District. The fire burned all night and was still burning into the early hours of Tuesday morning. Two elevator shafts were the only things left standing amid a pile of rubble.

Because the fire occurred after everyone had left for the day, nobody was injured. That’s the good news. However, because the fire occurred after everyone had left for the day, no one caught it early enough to prevent the catastrophic damage.

Construction Fires Are Common and Can Demolish a Project

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were more than 3,800 fires in structures under construction between 2013 and 2017. The report also stated the leading cause of these fires was from cooking equipment. For the 2500+ fires that happened in structures under major renovation, the majority of those were caused by electrical and lighting equipment.

Construction sites also face threats from trespassers who can cause damage. Sometimes vagrants will sneak into a site and start a fire to keep warm in colder weather.

The potential for this type of construction fire damage happens because the projects are largely unprotected. Fire walls, smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinkler systems aren’t typically in place until a building is nearly completed. Even if the structure isn’t framed with wood, prolonged exposure to fire can weaken it and even cause it to collapse.

How You Can Enhance Your Construction Fire Protection

Even though remote video surveillance is not specifically designed as tool to prevent fires, it can help spot one. Stealth Monitoring security operators are trained to look for flames and smoke. Because they are watching live cameras, they can quickly respond to an incident.

Here are some examples of our solution in action:

Many construction sites also install thermal imaging cameras that can be used to quickly detect heat. Where most cameras and human eyes see nothing, thermal imaging cameras see by translating thermal energy (heat) into visible light to peruse a scene. The following video illustrates just how it works:

The ability to contact local fire departments and other first responders in real time can help save a project from millions of dollars in damage, costly insurance claims and complete destruction.

A single spark from a cigarette or piece of equipment can be enough to start a fire on a construction site. Is someone watching your project when you’re not there to help minimize damage? If not, contact us.

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