High-rise fires: Stay or go?

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Jan 24, 2014

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Daniel McClung, who died in a New York City high-rise fire. Credit: Facebook


Earlier this month, this blog highlighted the tragic story of a New York City playwright, Daniel McClung, who died after fleeing his high-rise apartment during a fire. His husband remains in intensive care after also trying to exit the building.


According to a recent +New York Times+ article, the couple may have averted danger by staying put. "In modern high-rise buildings, fire experts say, flight can be deadly," states the story. "Had the couple remained in their home, Mr. McClung would have survived, officials said. The fire turned out to be isolated to an apartment 18 floors below where the couple lived. Because the building was constructed of fire-resistant materials, the blaze barely spread. Even residents who remained in apartments directly next door to the fire emerged unscathed."


Chris Jelenewicz, an engineering program manager with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, told the Times that advancements in high-rise design and safetyincluding wider stairwells and advanced sprinklers and alarm systemshave made buildings safer. What's also needed, states the article, are proper instructions and better education on what do in an emergency. Following the recent tragedy, a New York city council member has introduced legislation that would require public address systems in residential high-rises. 


Get the latest NFPA statistics on high-rise building fires, and please review NFPA's high-rise safety tips.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New York City playwright, 27, dies in high-rise fire