Leadership

$3 Million Fire in Store Beauty Shop Shows Hazard of Cosmetic Chemicals

Issue 9 and Volume 132.

$3 Million Fire in Store Beauty Shop Shows Hazard of Cosmetic Chemicals Features Exotic hair styling in today’s beauty salon involves some exotic chemistry. The tinting, frosting, and waveset spraying use strong oxidizing agents, sometimes in contact with organic hydrocarbons, which can present a serious fire hazard. Racine, Wis., investigators now believe this was the cause of a $3 million shopping center blaze on April 18—the city’s largest loss in nearly a century. The 24-acre Elmwood Plaza center was completed in 1957. That was a decade before code changes required sprinklers throughout such occupancies. A few heads were provided, as in boiler rooms, but otherwise the only built-in protection was a supervised rate-of-rise heat detector system throughout Goldblatt’s Department Store, the center’s largest tenant with 45,000 square feet on the street floor. Opening off Goldblatt’s rear loading dock area were several storage or work rooms containing high fire loads. The…

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