Butler Plaza Fire Leads to Evacuations in Gainesville

Passersby noticed plumes of black smoke coming from the roof
of the Best Buy store in Butler Plaza in Gainesville, Florida Monday afternoon,
triggering multiple calls to 911. Firefighters arrived quickly to find flames
leaping from the rooftop.

Customers from within Best Buy as well as Trader Joe’s and
PetSmart were immediately evacuated from the buildings while fire rescue
personnel from Gainesville and Alachua County rushed to extinguish the flames. Firefighters
controlled the blaze after approaching via a ladder that leads to the roof from
within one of the businesses as well as using external ladders. The fire was
extinguished within 16 minutes of the initial 911 call.

While the exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined,
it is believed to have started among a series of 60-plus solar panels that line
the roof.

There are over 1.5 million structure fires in the United
States each year, resulting in over 3500 deaths. Commercial fires can be especially
deadly due to the large number of people potentially present within the

Government regulations dictate that most businesses maintain
a commercial fire alarm system to alert workers and customers alike in the event of a fire.
24/7 monitoring is critical to quickly notify firefighters and other first responders even when people are not present.

Loss of property and assets to fire is estimated to cost
business owners nearly $1 billion per year. Lost revenue due to company
downtime may exceed that number.

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