Fire Pump Fire

Fire Pump Fire Web 2A friend of mine contacted me recently and told me that his fire pump caught on fire. It was an engine driven (diesel) fire pump, and I’ll let him describe to you what happened:

“We had a dry pipe system fail in a detached building, due to possibly water trapped in a low point, a tee fitting broke. The dry system activated the fire pump as required,  the pump is located on the ground level of our parking deck. It appears that one of the battery cables shorted out causing a fire on the top end of the diesel driven fire pump. When there was enough heat the fuel line ruptured igniting on the pump.

Our security dept and fire dept. was called, security arrived first and used 4 dry powder extinguishers on the engine, when the fire dept. arrived they finished putting out the fire. A fire watch was instituted throughout the facility and arrangements were made with the fire dept. to connect a pumper truck up to the system until a pump was put back in place. A temporary pump was located, the old pump was removed from the room and the temporary pump was connected until a replacement pump is in place.”

The hospital was able to replace the defective pump with a temporary fire pump within 24 hours of the fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the fire, and I have no information on whether or not poor maintenance contributed to this fire, but it may be a reminder for the rest of us that weekly inspections and run tests should not be taken lightly. Complying with NFPA 25 (1998 edition), chapter 5 on fire pump inspection, testing and maintenance is a must…. and it may prevent an unfortunate event like this.


Do you have an interesting picture of a fire safety issue that you would like to share? Send it to me at along with a description and I will include it in a future post.