FOX 9 News in Minneapolis/St. Paul recently featured an investigative report on the danger of lightweight construction when exposed to fire; including a fire test that demonstrates how quickly this type of construction burns and collapses, highlighting the danger this poses for firefighters and the need for fire sprinklers in modern homes.
The investigative report, conducted with the assistance of various Minneapolis/St. Paul area fire departments, provides evidence of the dangers posed by lightweight construction when exposed to fire. As found on page 64 of a report by engineered wood product trade groups, trusses are the major wood components used today; enjoying 62% of roof, and 17% of floor, market share in new residential construction.
FOX 9 Investigators set up a test burn with the help of the St. Paul Fire Department. The test was set up to mimic Underwriter Laboratories (UL) research that tested the structural stability of engineered lumber. In the UL test, catastrophic collapse of the floor structure occurred in six minutes. In the FOX 9 test, collapse occurred in four minutes.
Kudos to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area fire service for shining the light on this danger found in a great number of modern homes, and getting the attention of the news media. Great way to increase public awereness of the issue.