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Home » Fire Sprinkler Contractor Blamed for Blaze at N.J. Building that caused $8M in Damages, Lawsuit Says

Fire Sprinkler Contractor Blamed for Blaze at N.J. Building that caused $8M in Damages, Lawsuit Says

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Fire-sprinkler contractor blamed for blaze at N.J. building that caused $8M in damages, lawsuit says

By Anthony G. Attrino for NJ.com

A Jersey City contractor hired to replace a fire-sprinkler system at a commercial building in Bergen County is being blamed in court documents for a massive blaze that caused more than $8 million in damages.

In a lawsuit filed Jan. 25, Guarini Fire Protection is accused of turning off a sprinkler system on Dec. 24, 2019 at a building in Mahwah before the contractors’ workers left for several days to enjoy the holiday.

That evening, a five-alarm fire erupted inside and burned unchecked until someone called 911 the next day, states the suit, filed in Superior Court of Bergen County.

The fire started inside the wholesale and distribution business at 27-35 Franklin Turnpike, which operated as Arzee Supply Corporation and was owned by Beacon Sales Acquisition of Virginia, the suit states.

Guarini had been hired to demolish and remove the old fire-sprinkler system and furnish and install a new one, according to the complaint.

“Guarini represented to Beacon that the fire-protection system would only be disabled when Guarini was performing its work, and that they would place the fire-sprinkler system into service at the close of each business day,” the lawsuit alleges.

The contractor disabled the fire-sprinkler system by turning off the water supply to the building, the suit states.

“The fire-protection sprinkler system (was) not operational at the time the fire started because the water supply to the fire-sprinkler system was shut off by Guarini,” the lawsuit claims.

The property sustained a collapsed roof and other damage from fire, smoke and water. No fatalities or injuries were reported, Mahwah PBA Local 143 reported at the time.

In addition to property damage, Beacon states the company suffered financial losses because business operations were interrupted.

All told, the company lost more than $8,050,000, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit says the cause of the fire was not determined.

Beacon is suing Guarini for negligence, breach of warranty and is seeking compensation for all losses, including interest, court costs and attorney fees.

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