San Jose

Home Depot to pay $1.3M for code violations in 2022 San Jose arson fire

The store's automatic sprinkler system had been disabled and piles of pallets blocked the fire lane

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Home Depot has been slapped with $1.3 million in fines for numerous fire code violations, including a disabled sprinkler system, in connection with a 2022 five-alarm arson fire that leveled its Blossom Hill store in South San Jose, the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office said Monday.

The DA's Bureau of Investigators along with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and San Jose Fire Department found that the code violations hampered firefighters and prevented them from saving the structure, the DA said.

Among the most egregious violations was Home Depot knew the store's automatic fire suppression sprinkler system had been disabled at the time of the fire and failed to fix it, the DA said.

On April 9, 2022, Dyllin Jaycruz Gogue lit the fire as he was trying to steal tools from the store. The flames spread quickly and sent customers and employees running from the store.

In addition to the disabled sprinklers, firefighters were blocked from the fire lane and fire department connections by high piles of pallets, the DA said. The blaze destroyed the entire 99,000-square-foot store and $17 million in inventory.

"Fire code violations are potential tragedies in waiting. Ignoring them isn’t just risky; it’s reckless," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a news release. "It risks far more than property. It risks lives."

The investigation showed Home Depot’s non-compliance with fire codes went beyond the Blossom Hill store. Between 2018 and 2023, the 13 other Home Depot stores across the county had been issued notices of violation, the DA said.

Home Depot has since rectified all outstanding fire code violations at its stores in the county and implemented new training to ensure future compliance, the DA said.

The arson case against Gogue is still pending.

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