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Home Depot paying $1.3M for fire code violations in arson that destroyed San Jose store

PIX Now morning edition 5-20-24
PIX Now morning edition 5-20-24 08:45

SAN JOSE – Home Depot is paying $1.3 million in fines after an investigation revealed fire code violations following an arson that burned a South San Jose store to the ground, prosecutors said.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen's office announced the fine against the hardware giant Monday, which followed an investigation by the DA's office and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives into the 2022 fire that destroyed the store on Blossom Hill Road.

"Fire code violations are potential tragedies in waiting. Ignoring them isn't just risky; it's reckless. It risks far more than property. It risks lives," Rosen said in a statement.

On April 9, 2022, a man trying to steal tools set a fire in the store. The fire quickly spread, destroying the 98,827 square foot store, causing an estimated $17 million in inventory loss.

Firefighters battle a 5-alarm fire at a Home Depot in San Jose, California. Santa Clara County Sheriff

Prosecutors said no water came from the sprinkler system. Meanwhile, firefighters who responded to the blaze were blocked from the fire lane and fire department connections by high piles of pallets.

According to investigators, the store's automatic fire suppression water sprinkler system had been disabled at the time of the fire. Home Depot was told the system was not working, but did not fix it.

Investigators also learned that 13 other Home Depot stores across the country were issued notices of fire code violations between 2018 and 2023.

The DA's office said Home Depot will pay $850,000 in civil penalties along with $150,000 to a nonprofit focusing on fire prevention and outreach in Santa Clara County.

Home Depot cooperated with the investigation, took action on the fire code violations at Santa Clara County stores and implemented new training and tracking methods, according to prosecutors.

Dyllin Jaycruz Gogue was arrested and charged with arson in connection with the fire.

Dyllin Jaycruz Gogue, suspect in arson at Home Depot in San Jose. (Santa Clara District Attorney's Office)

Authorities said at the time Gogue had stolen from other stores in the days and weeks leading up to the fire at Home Depot, including a theft at a Bass Pro Shop a half hour before.

His case was still pending as of Monday.

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