Arbitrator finds liability against fire extinguishment inspection company

A retired judge serving as arbitrator found a fire alarm inspection company 85% liable in a property subrogation action argued by Dan Coffey.  The judge held the company failed to adequately test a diner’s alarm system and improperly provided a six-month certification for the system in April 2004.  The diner burned down four months later when the dry chemical system failed to operate and extinguish a stove grease fire.  The company failed to perform certain tests, yet improperly certified the system to be “in proper working order.”  

The arbitrator found the system likely failed to operate due to the company technician’s failure to tighten a CO2 cartridge that was found to be loose after the fire.  The insured diner was found 15% responsible for failure to upgrade to a wet chemical system and failure to produce records that the vents and ducts had been regularly cleaned of grease.   Over $400,000 was awarded to the subrogating carrier.  (link to decision)

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