Home Depot To Pay $1.3 million for Fire Code Violations Found after Arson

Home Depot has agreed to pay more than $1.3 million for fire code violations at its Blossom Hill store in San Jose, after investigators concluded that the violations hampered firefighting efforts at a spectular arson fire that destroyed the store two years ago.

Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, in a press release today, said the payment resolves an investigation of the fire that destroyed the Blossom Hill Home Depot in April 2022.

The District Attorney Office’s Bureau of Investigators began probing all Home Depot stores in the county following the arson fire at the Blossom Hill location. Investigators concluded that the Blossom Hill store had “numerous serious fire code violations that critically hampered firefighters and the saving of the structure.”

Investigators said the Blossom Hill Home Depot’s automatic fire suppression water sprinkler system was disabled at the time of the five-alarm fire. Home Depot was notified it was not working – but the store did not fix it.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen thanked his investigators for their “comprehensive and diligent work.”

“Fire code violations are potential tragedies in waiting, Rosen said in a statement. “Ignoring them isn’t just risky, it’s reckless. It risks far more than property. It risks lives.”

On April 9, 2022, Dyllin Jaycruz Gogue lit a fire in the Blossom Hill Home Depot store as he was trying to steal tools, according to prosecutors. The quickly spreading flames sent customers and employees running from the store. No water came from the disabled sprinkler system. Responding firefighters were blocked from the fire lane and fire department connections by high piles of pallets. The flames quickly enveloped and destroyed the entire 98,827-square-foot store, causing an estimated $17 million in inventory loss.

The arson case against Gogue is still pending.

In addition to $850,000 in civil penalties, Home Depot will provide $150,000 to a non-profit focusing on fire prevention and outreach in Santa Clara County.

The San Jose Fire Department will recoup costs associated with the five-alarm fire, while all other county fire departments will receive costs associated with the investigation.

Rosen said Home Depot “cooperated with the investigation, took action in curing all outstanding fire code violations at its stores in the county and implemented new training and tracking methods to ensure future compliance.”


One Comment

  1. Sounds like we need to terminate employment of the fire department inspectors and their managers for allowing these conditions to fester for so long.

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