[Table of Contents]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Arson fire destroys Iron Mountain facility

A catastrophic arson fire has destroyed Iron Mountain records
managements storage facility in South Brunswick, NJ.. Here is the raw
email traffic on this event

Orginally from John Chmura of the NARA Northeast Region, Bayonne, NJ
Office, on Friday, March 21:
Attached is an article from my local paper regarding a major fire at Iron
Mountain's facility in South Brunswick, NJ.  I don't know if it made any
headlines in other areas.  I have done minimal editing.

>From a related article in the same newspaper, found only in hard copy, it
would appear that Citibank stored a lot of records at the doomed facility. 
Citibank didn't expect that their customers would be affected, since they
didn't store vital records in South Brunswick.  I like the following quote,
"Asked whether it would affect Citicorp's status as an Iron Mountain
customer, Howe said, 'We'll see how it turns out.'"  I would translate this
as, "Duh."  I also like a quote this tidbit.  "Although he found the nature of
the fires intriquing, an equity analyst who follows Iron Mountain...said the
company could lose business in the immediate market, but the situation is
too localized to have much overall impact on the company's performance.
 'They've got locations across the country...And besides, they're insured
for all that stuff. '"

For a little more on the specifics, according to the Newark Star-Legder,
which does not post to the web, "Officials said yesterday's fire started
about 50 feet in, on a third story catwalk of shelving just behind
administrative offices in the right corner of the building...The fire triggered
the sprinkler system, officials said, noting the warehouse was equipped
with state-of-the-art fire safety equipment that passed a recent
inspection."  (Below we have additional information that neither building
was equipped with a fire suppression system - RB)

Thu Mar 20 01:49:31 1997

Suspicious blaze rips through another document warehouse


Flames and intense heat blew three-story-high walls off a paper
document warehouse in South  Brunswick Wednesday during a
suspicious fire that was still burning strong late Wednesday night. 

Wednesday's fire is the third -- and by far the largest -- that erupted
recently at township warehouses leased by Iron Mountain Inc., the
nation's largest private archive operator. Firefighters, in fact, were
almost finished battling a 2-day-old fire at the company's  warehouse on
11 Nicholas Court, when the call came in 10:20 Wednesday morning to
respond to   another fire just around the corner at 6 Nicholas Court.

Flames blew through the building's roof by early afternoon, and the fire
even knocked down  two sections of the building's concrete walls,
creating a thunderous boom when they hit the  ground. The collapsed
walls exposed mangled shelving and catwalks engulfed in flames and 

"We've had some big fires," said Clifford Bastedo, the chief of South
Brunswick's  Monmouth Junction Fire Department. "But this is the
biggest."  Flames reportedly reached 100 feet in the air at about 8 o'clock
Wednesday night, and firefighters had begun drawing water form
nearby ponds to bolster weakening water levels. Fire officials  said they
could only contain the blaze while it takes its course over the next two or
three days.

The fire was Iron Mountain's third in 12 days. The other two were at its
11 Nicholas Court  facility on March 10 and Monday.

Investigators already have linked all three fires and declared them arson.
Police Chief  Michael Paquette has vowed to catch the person
responsible for starting Wednesday's inferno  while fire, and police
officials were stationed only a block away.

"There's a lot of chutzpah on that person's part," said Paquette, noting 11
detectives were  on the case. "That kind of overconfidence is going to
aid our investigation."  One Iron Mountain employee suffered smoke
inhalation in a futile attempt to extinguish the   flames, but none of the 100
firefighters from 19 companies who battled the blaze Wednesday was
injured, authorities said.

Firefighters had to be evacuated from the building at about 1 p.m when
the flames suddenly  ripped through the roof. Water was pumped from
the top of aerial ladders and buckets on the  burning warehouse below.

The building will likely be demolished as soon as the fire is extinguished,
with  firefighters remaining on site to quell hot spots, Bastedo said.
Officials said 19 fire companies, three ambulance squads, the South
Brunswick Police Department, the Middlesex County Office of Emergency
Management and the Salvation Army were assisting the Monmouth
Junction Fire Department, which was leading the effort in the industrial
district owned by Frank Greek & Son.

Around 800,000 boxes of documents were feared lost, according to C.
Richard Reese, chairman  of Iron Mountain Inc., a publicly traded records
management company based in Boston. Each  carton holds about half a
standard file drawer worth of documents such as financial reports or  
employee records, he said. Reese would not speculate why his
company has been the target of  arson, but he did say he would go "to
the end of the Earth" to find the culprit. 

"We've offered $10,000 in reward money for tips, and, hopefully, we'll
find the person  responsible for the crime," said Reese, noting security is
being beefed up at Iron Mountain's  other warehouses throughout the

Published in The Home News & Tribune 3/20/97 

from the RECSMGNT listserv
 From: 	Amy Rand <brians@SSNET.COM>
Date: 	03/21/97 (Fri) 9:42am
Subject: 	Fires

It is probably well known that I do not represent the majority of my
industry (and am vocal & generally a pain to the group), but commercial
records centers have been actively lobbying (with success, I might add),
to reduce the fire protection required in records centers.  Yes, it is
expensive to comply with code, but as the recent fires show, it is
essential.  PRISM (formerly ACRC) has successfully gotten ARMA
moneys to assist in the lobbying.  Does the membership realize the
impact?  My guess is no.

Amy Rand
Brian's Data Storage Services
35 Industrial Blvd.
New Castle, DE  19720
(302) 999-9221 brians@ssnet.com
Forwarded from Dan Bennett, NARA in Philadelphia to Galen Wilson,
NARA, Los Angeles, March 24:


I went to South Brunswick yesterday and viewed the Iron Mountain
facilities that have burned since March 12.  The one that caught on fire
(and was set by arson) last Wednesday is a total disaster....twisted
melted shelving and incinerated records.  That event was devastating to
the operation (approximately 850,000 cubic feet almost entirely
unrecoverable).  The other left a fair amount that can be salvaged (most
is recoverable).  They have no fire suppression systems in place in
either building.  If there ever was a compelling reason to put these
systems in place, this is a shining example of what can happen - and
happen very fast - when you don't.  They are vacuum drying and air
drying primarily.  Two vendors are on-site doing this with a realtively
large crew (I saw about fifty folks there yesterday.  The area is fairly
well secured.  Unfortunately, they were not allowing photographs
yesterday as they were bringing documents out of the charred remains. 
They were allowing them last week when the building was still
smoldering and they had yet to go into it.  Yesterday the building was
steaming - but the smoldering had dissipated.  The Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, and Firearms, as well as, the FBI, are the lead investigators on
the case (ATF is primary lead).


This message was posted through the Stanford campus mailing list
server.  If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the
message body of "unsubscribe bap" to majordomo@lists.stanford.edu

[Subject index] [Index for current year] [