The following is an inventory of fires in buildings under construction. Those conducting research on this topic will find this inventory most useful in identifying various experiences that are contributing to modern firefighting practices. Readers who hear of or experience a fire of this type are encouraged to forward any information to our attention so that the inventory can be updated.

Location & Scenarios

Anaheim, CA
April 8, 2014

Fire occurred in a 3-story building during framing in the Monaco Apartments complex. Estimated fire loss was $2 million. Time of alarm was 8:30 am. Cause determined to be associated with welding operations. Anaheim Fire Incident #A1408665
Edmonton, Alberta, CN
June 27, 2014

This was one of several fires that occurred in a short timeframe. The fire at the Siltstone Place Condominium destroyed 75-80 units in a building that was nearly complete. The sprinkler system was installed but not turned on at the time of the fire. On March 15, 2014, a fire destroyed 79 units in a building that was 75% complete. Fire loss was estimated at $6 million, and nearby homes were damaged.On September 29, 2013, a fire ruled as arson resulted in a $20 million loss. Exposure resulted in damage to buildings across the street.

In July 2007, a fire ruled as arson that destroyed 149 units. 18 nearby duplexes also were destroyed and 70 homes damaged.
Fishers, IN
January 13, 2015

At 5:30 a.m., firefighters responded to the 3-story Flats at Fishers apartment complex that was well involved upon arrival. The complex was well past the framing stage with much of the interior partitioning already installed, but some was missing on the upper level. The complex was approximately 3 months short of completion, and damage is in the millions of dollars.
Houston, TX
April 28th, 2014

Fire gutted a 5-story 398-unit apartment complex in the Montrose district. At the time of the fire, the exterior was sheathed, and it appeared from photos that most of the interior walls were installed. Fire started at about 12:30 pm. It was reported to have started on the roof after hot work, but cause remains undetermined. High winds were cited as a factor in the rapid fire growth. A worker who went to investigate the fire became trapped and had to be rescued by an aerial ladder from an upper level exterior balcony.
Lower Heidelberg Township, PA

An unfinished four story apartment building burned in Lower Heidelberg. The 27 unit building was totaled. Fire considered to be arson. 100 firefighters involved. Loss estimated at $2 million.
Madison, WI
August 8, 2014

A two alarm fire occurred at 7:30 p.m. at the Grandview Commons Apartments during the framing stage. Building was fully involved upon arrival. The 4-story, 105 unit building was totaled, with an estimated loss of $3.5 to $5 million. No injuries. Fire department declared a defensive strategy to protect occupied dwellings near the structure.
Ottawa, Ontario, CN
December 18, 2013

Fire started in a five or six story wood building during the framing stage and exposed adjacent buildings. High winds were cited as a factor in rapid fire spread. Operator of the fixed tower-crane serving the site had to be rescued by helicopter.
Portland, OR
August 8, 2013

Fire in a 4-story apartment complex under construction. The fire was reported at 4:14 am. Building fully involved upon arrival. No cause determined.
Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, CN
April 25, 2014

Fire in a townhouse style apartment building. Fire separations were already in place between units and were cited as limiting fire spread, mostly to a single unit. Exterior of the building was completed with framing already enclosed.
Pullman, WA
July 14, 2013

Fire occurred in a building under construction on Sunday July 14, 2013. Building totally involved prior to fire department arrival. Exposed buildings were evacuated. Time of alarm 3:17 am. Cause was arson.
Rockville, MD
April 1, 2014

Fire occurred on April 1, 2014 in a 150 unit apartment building that was 90 percent complete. It was reported at 4:15 am. Access problems were indicated by firefighters. Estimated loss $20 million.
Salt Lake City, UT
February 9, 2014

Fire was reported in an apartment complex in Salt Lake City. Time of alarm was 6:00 pm. The building was a multi-residential facility with 61 apartment spaces and had four floors. According to fire department representatives, the building was declared structurally unsafe, so cause could not be determined. The building was 64,000 square feet. The damage was estimated at 1.5 million dollars.
San Francisco, CA
March 11, 2014

Fire occurred in a building under construction at 4:56 p.m. The estimated loss was $200 million. The primary issue was exposure protection. The buildings sprinkler system was not installed. Cause was cited as a “hot or smoldering object” on the sixth floor roof area, which ignited a fire that spread to the rest of the construction site. Welding work is suspected.
San Jose, CA
August 2002

Santana Row Development Fire, USFA-TR-153. This incident was thoroughly reported on in a technical report sponsored by the U.S. Fire Administration. This was the worst fire loss that the city had ever experienced in a single incident. This document provides a complete inventory of the key issues.
Santa Barbara, CA
July 4, 2014

Fire destroyed a 3-story campus housing apartment at the University of California in Santa Barbara during the open framing stage. Arson was the suspected cause. There were five separate fires in the area at the time. Fire occurred at 4:30 am. No injuries were reported. Estimated dollar loss to be $2 to $3 million.
Seattle, WA
June 14, 2014

An apartment building under construction suffered damage from a fire started by discarded smoking materials. Estimated loss $10,000.
Tribeca, NY
April 29, 2014

Fire in a 5-story building where luxury apartments were under construction. Started at 4 a.m. 60 firefighters were required for control. One firefighter hospitalized. (Note: another fire occurred in Tribeca at 3:20 p.m. at 99 Hudson Street, with no injuries reported in the sprinklers-controlled fire)
Vancouver, WA
June 20, 2014

Fire was reported at 3:15 a.m. Cause not determined. Loss not quantified, but building was totally destroyed. Local firefighters took a “defensive” approach.
Waltham, MA
June 18, 2014

Four alarm fire destroyed two buildings. Several buildings had to be evacuated on either side of the fire. Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries.


The mission of this website is to provide background information to both public and private sector organizations regarding how to reduce the frequency and severity of fires during construction. This site identifies many best management practices that were collected during a literature search.

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