FM Global's Fire Drills

The 175-year-old commercial property insurer spends about $40 million annually figuring out how to increase safety and minimize losses at factories, warehouses, baseball stadiums, and other business locations

The fire begins as a slow burn. Within minutes, fueled by 216 neatly stacked boxes full of plastic cups, 30-foot flames lick the ceiling, and crackling embers soar up from the melting plastic goo. When automatic sprinklers start dousing the fire, the room fills with thick, black smoke. "Can you imagine that smoke in our warehouse?" whispers one observer standing behind reinforced glass.

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