What laws or regulations are in place for something like this in the USA?

From Northumberland Today--Ontario Canada

Burning issue
Horizon blaze leads fire chief to call for more stringent regulations

More rules should be put in place governing how materials are stored outdoors in industrial areas, Cobourg Fire Chief Al Mann said at Monday’s meeting of Cobourg Council.

And he is asking the provincial government to create more regulations in the wake of the April 25 fire at Horizon Plastics.

“We really don’t have much of a stick to swing,” he said.

The Ontario Fire Code has little in it and the national code only speaks to how close combustible materials can be piled to a building (15 metres),” he said.

During the Horizon Plastics inferno in the Northam Industrial Park which resulted in both the park’s evacuation and that of nearby residents, the fire began in the outside storage compound of plastic lattice fencing. The aisles were too narrow to gain access into the 5.5-million pounds of piled lattice fencing, Chief Mann explained.

In addition, when three employees tried to move piles with a fork lift at the onset of the fire around 2 p.m. that day, some piles were accidentally pushed over, blocking other access points, he said.

Essentially the fire was fought from just one side, down wind, with firefighters moving trucks and hoses in front of flowing plastic lava as more of the piles were consumed in the blaze, the chief showed councillors using pictures of the industrial plastics fire.

This moving fire resulted in the loss of $10,500 worth of firefighting equipment and $10-million in direct property damage.

While, thankfully, no human lives, buildings or jobs were lost, there were some glitches. These included:

• communications from a variety of perspectives including phones that could not be activated at the fire hall and problems communicating between various fire departments and agencies on the scene.

“We were down to two old rotary phones at the fire hall… plus cell phones,” said Chief Mann;

• not every firefighter had personal breathing systems to protect them in the smoke-filled area; and

• the fire command post in the front seat of a fire department vehicle was inadequate.

On the plus side, the mutual aid and emergency plans worked well and team work was very evident, councillors heard.