Today in fire history: a fire in a 38-story-high-rise building kills three fire fighters

Blog Post created by paulalevesque Employee on Feb 23, 2015


On Saturday, February 23, 1991, an early evening fire occurred at a 38-story high-rise building in
downtown Philadelphia resulting in the death of three fire fighters, fire extension to nine floors, and severe structural damage to the building.  During the 18 1/2-hr effort to control the blaze, fire fighting activities were hampered by the loss of electrical power (including emergency power) and inadequate fire attack hose stream pressure to suppress the fire.  As a result, the fire was able to spread from the floor of origin, the 22nd floor, to the 29th floor.  The vertical fire spread was completely stopped at the 30th floor by an automatic sprinkler system supplied by fire department pumpers through the siamese connection.  This significant high-rise fire is being documented by the NFPA with the cooperation of the Philadelphia Fire Department. 

See full NFPA Fire Investigation report See NFPA's resource page on high-rise buildings for more information. Those interested in more information about firefighter fatalities in the U.S. can download NFPA's free fact sheet and full report.