Following a month-long trial in Scott County (Iowa) District Court, a jury awarded $39.5 million to two insurance companies. Royal Indemnity and Federal Insurance were the insurers of a warehouse occupied by Deere & Co. in Mount Joy, Iowa, that burned down in 2001.
The companies sought compensation from FM Global, a loss-prevention firm based in Johnston, R.I., which evaluated the former Caterpillar plant located in the River Cities Industrial Park before Deere moved in. A jury found FM Global guilty of negligence. The firm failed to properly inspect the building's fire alarm and protection systems, concluding that the systems were fine, according to the insurers' attorney.
The fire is thought to have ignited when a high-intensity lamp exploded. The sprinkler system did not have enough water to fight the resulting flames. The smoke reportedly reached as high as 6,000 ft. and appeared on National Weather Service satellite images. No one was injured.
Source: Local news reports