Recently, another fire department in SW Florida responded to an explosion in a multi-story condominium complex which caused damage to the area of the building near the main electrical room. The State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the cause of the fire/explosion to be an adverse electrical event within the building’s main electrical system. This event is being attributed to the accelerated deterioration of the insulation on electrical wires from underground conduits flooded during Hurricane Ian. It’s believed the deterioration of the insulation led to a buildup of hydrogen gases that ignited when exposed copper wires came into contact with each other. There was an explosion at two locations; the electrical room inside the building and the switch box outside the building.
Based on the investigative findings, and through an abundance of caution, the Captiva Island Fire Control District is recommending all structures that have their main electrical feeds enter from underground be inspected by a licensed electrical contractor that is capable of monitoring for the presence of hydrogen gases. Any occupancies concerned they may have a smell of burning plastic or rubber in the area of their electrical, or other mechanical rooms, no matter how faint, are encouraged to report it through 911 and allow the fire department to respond, investigate, and assist with any potential hazards that may exist.
For more information on the full investigation report, please click the link below.Marco Island Incident.pdf