Stutman Law proves “pyrolosis” in a case that leads to a $1 million settlement

A fire originated within the wooden wall structure of a chain restaurant, immediately behind a wall mounted piece of cooking equipment. Discovery revealed other locations within the chain had suffered similar fires in wooden walls immediately behind the same make and model of cooking equipment. Stutman Law’s expert tested whether the equipment could cause a fire when mounted in this manner. In the test, the temperatures realized on the wall behind the cooking equipment were significantly below the generally accepted ignition temperature of wood. This testing appeared to conclusively prove the concept of “pyrolosis” – the principal that a combustible surface can ignite at less than its ignition temperature if it is exposed to prolonged periods of heat. Faced with this testing, the defendants paid $1 million settlement.

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