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As continuity planners we may think that just storing documents offsite is sufficient. This tragedy is a painful story for some about the “quality” of offsite storage facilities…does yours have adequate fire suppression systems to avoid disaster?

A seven-alarm fire engulfed a warehouse crammed with official documents near the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Saturday morning, sending plumes of brown, acrid smoke into the air that were visible as far away as New Jersey.

By late afternoon, 10 hours after it began at 6:20 a.m., the fire was still burning, with flames consuming court files, hospital records and social service documents, and firefighters battling brutal cold and wind in addition to the blaze itself.

No firefighters were injured but one neighborhood resident was treated at the scene for slight smoke inhalation. As the day unfolded, more than 200 firefighters converged on the CitiStorage building at 5 North 11th Street, near Kent Avenue, fighting the fire on land and from fire boats.

The weather conditions almost could not have been worse for firefighters, with stiff winds feeding the flames, while ice formed around fire hydrants and pump trucks. There are no estimates when the fire might be extinguished, but fire crews are likely to be on the scene for weeks!

Imagine This Is Your Confidential Document That This Man Is Holding?!?!?
Imagine this is your confidential document that this man is holding?!?!?

Those that have records stored in the warehouse, which occupies nearly half a square block, included the state court system, the city Administration for Children’s Services, the city Health and Hospitals Corporation, and members of the Greater New York Hospital Association.


Maybe this is a good time to ask your offsite storage facility provider about their building, fire suppression systems and processes in place to avoid this type of disaster with your critical vital records that you store off site.