November 15, 2006 - One week after Oro Valley-based Securaplane Technologies lost its administrative building in a three-alarm fire, investigators are months away from zeroing in on the fire's cause.
Despite the loss of a building he values at $2 million, Securaplane's President Dave Daniels claims the company is in a good position to rebuild.
A fire the morning of Nov. 7 destroyed the company's property at 10800 N. Mavinee Drive and disrupted the company's administration, sales and marketing, products support and research and development offices. The company's 138 employees also temporarily lost use of their landline phone and Internet systems.
According to Daniels, each of those offices either has little effect on the company's current business obligations or is easily transferable. Employees with offices in the burnt building are now all working in the company's other building located just across North Mavinee Drive.
Daniels said the fire had little affect on the company's ability to make its upcoming product shipments on time.
One week after the fire, investigators had yet to determine its cause. This week, inspectors representing the company's insurer, the town of Oro Valley and Golder Ranch Fire District were at the scene attempting to discover the fire's cause.
"It's not a quick issue," Golder Ranch fire inspector Steve Hobarenko said after the first day of inspections. "It's something that's going to play out over a number of months."
Witnesses told firefighters that the fire started in the area the company stores batteries. Early investigation on the scene confirmed the fire's location, but the cause will not be determined until all possibilities are ruled out, Hobarenko said.
John Sullivan, community services division chief of the Golder Ranch Fire District, said investigation into the cause of the fire is focusing on the possibilities that it was caused by a defective battery, defective battery charging equipment or worker error.
Securaplane's ability to make most of its shipments should minimize the fire's effect on the company's bottom line, said Nigel Moll, editor of the monthly trade publication Aviation International News.
The company provides, among other things, security systems, airborne video cameras, batteries and battery chargers to be used on business jets.
Among companies that supply security systems for business jets, Sercuraplane is an industry leader, Moll said. He added that the company's advantage over its competitors is large enough to keep it from losing much business after the fire.
It doesn't hurt, he added, that Securaplane is in the right field at the right time.
"Business aviation is probably one of the best businesses to be in at the moment," he said, "It's boom time for business aviation."
According to Daniels, the most important thing is that the company has been making all of those shipments required to get an airplane off the ground.
A company that misses those shipments, called AOG's, he said, can't keep customers for long.
"In aircraft, you say AOG, everybody jumps," he said.