small fire at nssc
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

John Mauro, fire inspector, U.S. Army Garrison Natick, believes that fire prevention is everyone's responsibility. That lesson was reinforced the evening of Feb. 12 when a small fire broke out in Building 5 of the Natick Soldier Systems Center.

"It looks like a component overheated and ignited the interior of the humidifier," said Mauro. "It climbed up a wall, lit some of the plastic and PVC pipe on fire and that dropped into a box of filters and other material which then ignited."

A quick response and a properly functioning sprinkler system minimized the damage.

The fire inspector aims to use the lesson as a teaching tool, bringing renewed energy and attention to installation fire-prevention efforts and thereby diminishing the likelihood of similar incidents in the future.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Malone, the NSSC senior commander, and Lt. Col. Bryan Martin, the USAG-Natick garrison commander, anticipated the renewed emphasis on fire safety, directing a series of thorough inspections and empowering Mauro to implement control measures across the installation in early winter.

"Installation and garrison leadership are working on a complete fire and life safety analysis of the buildings," said Mauro. "The National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code is accepted by the Army and we are expected to follow this code. We are going to look all sorts of issues ranging from fire safety to egress. Investigating the different construction throughout the years and its impact on the safety of the buildings."

Mauro believes fire prevention begins with educating the workforce about potential hazards.

"Fire prevention is a lot about educating people," he said. "We need to work with the people here at Natick to prevent fires from happening."

"For example, we have to tell them that you can't have the trash barrel in the hallway because of this risk," he added. "You can't have egg crate foam on the walls to deaden the sound because it is highly flammable. Fire prevention is about education and the more buy in we get, the less risk of fire on the installation."

Mauro said fire prevention is more than meeting quarterly to conduct training; it means meeting one-on-one and explaining issues so they are understood and any potential hazards remedied.

Mauro expects additional fire inspections to continue throughout 2019 and encourages the NSSC workforce to remain vigilant and flexible. The cooperation and diligence will ultimately improve safety and regulatory compliance across the NSSC.

If you have any questions about the fire prevention, or would like to know what you can do to enhance the safety of your work-space, contact John Mauro at (508) 233-4325 or

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