$39M Campus Apartment Fire Gives Reasons to Reflect on Risk Management

Earlier this week, a five alarm fire took out the top floors of a new, 275-unit apartment building in College Park, Maryland. Thankfully, the building was still unoccupied as its first residents were not slated to move in until June.  The widespread fire caused $39M in damages, evacuations of nearby residents and a shutdown of the University of Maryland’s campus.  Fire officials cite the lightweight wooden trusses in the roof as being a major contributor to the fire’s intensity and rapid spread.  These materials are currently permitted by code, but groups have been actively pushing legislation to require stronger, noncombustible materials as the new industry standard.

In the coming days and weeks many risk management and insurance coverage questions will be posed by and to the community, local government, college, property developer and various construction partners involved in the project.

Questions about the loss event itself:

Questions about responsibility for the loss event:

Questions surrounding reputation risk:

An unexpected event like this leads to a lot of questions for property owners, developers and construction outfits. RCM&D takes a proactive approach by helping clients answer as many of these questions as possible before a catastrophe strikes.  By minimizing risk and planning for the worst, our clients are better prepared to rebound and get back to business as usual.