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Question
i have an old fire fyter "fire resistant" file cabinet that reads SPEC F2-ND is SMNA class D  CAT.NO 40 and theres a Y on the top right corner of the label. building materials index # A315593. it has a lock and there is no key. im wondering if A. is it still worth anything? B. There is no key and need to get into it before anything is done with it. so basically my main question is, is there any way i can get into it without calling a lock smith? it was a relatives of mine who has passed away and am pretty sure there are important documents in there. any help is good at this point. not finding much about it.thank you for your time.

Answer
Hi James,

Your container was built prior to 1962.   In "general" fire resistive containers, are NOT considered to meet ANY current standards for fire resistance if they are over 50 years old.   UL has a 10 year limit if test units are not resubmitted every 10 years, but in general practice as they usually aren't moved much, 50 years is a good MAXIMUM limit.

The reason being is due to several conditions including material degradation and cracking due to slamming of the doors and drawers.   While the unit may LOOK good, you have no way of looking inside the doors and walls to determine the condition of the insulation.   Cracks of any size can allow heat to penetrate the container in the event of a fire, allowing the documents to char or burn.

As far as "value" - worth anything - no, the container has NO retail value and as mentioned it does NOT meet any current standards for fire resistance.

If you are locked out and don't have a key then you will need to contact a local locksmith to open it and/or make a key for the lock.   These locks should be relatively easy for a trained locksmith to either pick open or to make a key for.    Anyone who indicates that they have to drill out this lock to open it probably doesn't have the necessary training and shouldn't be used.

If you decide to continue to use it, I would recommend keeping ONLY general purpose documents which can be replaced if they are damaged.

Hope this helps,  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.

Experience

44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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