Home Depot fined $1.3 million for safety violations after 2022 San Jose arson fire

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — A fire that destroyed a Home Depot in San Jose revealed dangerous public safety conditions.

On Monday, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office announced the hardware giant will pay $1.3 million for fire code violations at several locations.

This payment comes after investigators looked into the arson that happened at the Blossom Hill location in April of 2022.

RELATED: Massive 5-alarm fire destroys San Jose Home Depot; shelter-in-place advisory lifted

Firefighters battled a five-alarm fire at a Home Depot in south San Jose Saturday evening.

Philip Hurst was in the parking lot loading his items in when the fire broke out.

“Just was crazy, so much fire and smoke by the time I walked back up you couldn’t even see the ceiling anymore cause it was so covered in smoke,” Hurst said.

Rick Garcia said he was shopping in the back of the store in the lumber section. He said the broke out one isle over in the roofing section.

“I don’t hear anything like for a split second even though I saw the flames like am I imagining that? No there’s an actual fire,” Garcia said.

He said he didn’t hear an alarm or see the sprinkler system set off.

MORE: Officials ID man charged with intentionally starting massive fire at San Jose Home Depot

According to the DA’s Office, the store’s automatic sprinkler system was disabled during the five-alarm fire. Home Depot was notified it wasn’t working a month prior.

The violations also state high piles of pallets blocked responding firefighters from gaining easy access.

The investigation showed it wasn’t just this location – 13 other Home Depot stores across Santa Clara County had been issued fire code violations.

“It doesn’t surprise me to a certain degree. You know I understand if there’s one minor violation and you fix it. But it’s another thing to have multiple violations over multiple locations for long periods of time. That’s neglect in my opinion,” Garcia said.

“I’m really glad we have rules to make sure that we’re safe but I also realize look we have a lot of rules, and to be in 100% compliance with anything is super tough so I think that knowing that they weren’t in compliance my only feeling is- I’m glad it wasn’t a problem so somebody got hurt or killed,” Garcia said.

MORE: Day after woman finished $5K backyard remodel for home daycare, SJ Home Depot fire destroyed it

Neighbors are shaken up by the San Jose Home Depot Fire. One woman’s backyard for her daycare was destroyed 1 day after completing a $5,000 renovation

Johnene Stebbins, Deputy District Attorney, said Home Depot is implementing new training and tracking methods.

“They spent a lot of time bringing their other facilities- or other stores I should say into compliance and also revamping what they needed to take care of internally to make sure this type of situation didn’t happen again,” Stebbins said.

The arson case against Dyllin Jaycruz Gogue is still pending.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.