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65 Posts authored by: normacandeloro Employee

Danger from fire was far from the minds of some 7000 happy patrons, attending "the greatest show on earth" at the city-owned circus grounds on the outskirts of Hartford, Connecticut, on the hot sunny afternoon of July 6, 1944. About twenty minutes after the matinee started a "flash fire" occurred which caused fatal injuries to 163 persons, mostly women and children. Sixtlooking_back_600[1].jpgy-three of the dead were children under 15 years of age. Well over 200 other patrons were confined to hospitals as a result of burns and some 50 or 60 circus employees were treated by their own physician. Some of the critically injured patrons may yet succumb. NFPA members can download the investigation report for free.

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Fire Firefighter fatalities from the Hackensack, New Jersey fire department were killed while they were engaged in interior fire suppression efforts at an automobile dealership when portions of the building's wood bowstring truss roof suddenly collapsed. The incident occurred on Friday, July 1, 1988 at approximately 3:00 p.m., when the fire department began to receive the first of a series of telephone calls reporting "flames and smoke" coming from the roof of the Hackensack Ford Dealership. Two pumpers, and ladder truck, and a battalion chief responded to the first alarm assignment. The first arriving firefighters observed a "heavy smoke condition" at the roof area of the building. Engine company crews investigated the source of the smoke inside the building while the truck company crew assessed conditions on the roof. For the next 20 minutes, the focus of the suppression effort was concentrated on these initial tactics.  Members can download the investigation report for free. 

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At 9:15 a.m. on June 25, 1985, a series of explosions and subsequent fires occurred at the site of the Aerlex Fireworks Manufacturing Corporation, near the town of Jennings, Oklahoma. In all, 21 people were killed and 5 injured in what was the second-deadliest fireworks factory explosion in the United States reported to the NFPA between 1950 and 1986.

The company was federally licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and produced approximately 90% display-type special fireworks and 10% common fireworks. As a result of increased demand created by the upcoming July 4th holiday, the plant had temporarily increased its staff and extended the hours of operation. Members can download the investigation for free.

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On June 24, 1973, a fire in a second-floor cocktail lounge in the French Quarter of New Orleans killed 32 patrons and injured 12 others. The fire was deliberately set on the stairway of the main entrance, blocking the normal exit route from the lounge. Combustible wood paneling and carpet in the stairway provided fuel for the fire. In the confusion that followed, 20 people escaped through a rear door, 15 others escaped through windows, and 28 bodies were recovered from the lounge after the fire. Of those who escaped, one died before reaching the hospital, three died later of burn injuries, and seven others were critically burned. NFPA members can download the investigation report for free.

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On Tuesday, June 14, 1983, at 3:22 am., a fire was reported at the Ramada Inn Central, Fort Worth, Texas. The hotel is located to the south of interstate 30, approximately two miles east of downtown Fort Worth. The 90-room two-story structure involved in the fire was part of a 5 building hotel complex which included a combination lobby/restaurant building and three other buildings housing guest rooms. The building was of protected wood frame construction. Interior corridors were connected by three unenclosed interior stairways. The building was not protected by automatic sprinklers or smoke detectors and had no fire alarm system. The area of fire origin was within the first floor corridor, adjacent to an exit, at the building's west end and initially involved rolled carpet and padding stored in the corridor as the building was undergoing renovations.

Five people died of "asphyxiation due to inhalation of smoke and carbon monoxide" and 33 were injured. All fatalities were found by firefighters within guest rooms. Four of the fatalities were occupants of the second floor; one an occupant of the first floor.

NFPA members can download the investigation report for free.

 

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On June 8, 1998, a series of explosions occurred at one of the largest grain elevators in the world, killing seven and injuring ten. The facility located in Haysville, KGrainSiloFire - Copy.JPGansas, was being prepared for the early summer harvest of wheat; workers were preparing the facility by cleaning the gallery houses at the top of the silos as well as the conveyor tunnels under the silos. The ignition source is unknown, even after an investigation.

Members can download a free copy of the NFPA investigation report on the this incident. http://www.nfpa.org/research/fire-investigations/non-residential-properties_ All visitors can read a summary of the event.

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts:
just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account
on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects
you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

On Saturday, May 28, 1977, a disastrous fire occurred at the
Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky, that claimed the lives of 164
patrons and employees, and injured some 70 other people. This fire was tZebra room beverly hill club.JPGhe worst
multiple-death building fire in the United States since the Cocoanut Grove
night club burned in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 28, 1942, taking 492
lives. The Beverly Hills Supper Club, classified according to the NFPA Life Safety Code,, NFPA101, as a place of assembly, was a sprawling, mostly one-story restaurant and night club that covered an area of about 1 1/2 acres. A small part of the building was two stories high, and there was a basement under approximately half of the complex. The original two-story portion was constructed in 1937 and additions were added at various times; a major rebuilding of the Beverly Hills Supper Club took place following a fire in 1970. There were no deaths in that 1970 fire. NFPA members can download the investigation report free.

normacandeloro

Today in fire history

Posted by normacandeloro Employee May 13, 2016

On Tuesday, May 13, 1997, a fire occurred at a board and care facility in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. State fire investigators determined that the fire most likely started on a screened-in porch. Investigators determined that the fire was caused by disposal of smoking materials on the screened-in porch area of the building. The fire killed ten residents and injured three others. The building was heavily damaged by the fire, and the property loss was estimated at $270,000. The facility was a two-story plus basement, wood-frame structure with several additions that had been made over time, which increased the size of the building. Fire protection features included a fire alarm system with smoke detectors and heat detectors, and fire extinguishers. Interior stairways were enclosed. Steel doors with self-closing devices protected openings to the stairways; however, the self-closing device on one of the stairway doors was deactivated. Wall and ceiling finishes were noncombustible. The facility was not equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. NFPA members can read the full
investigation report
.

Today in fire history: wildfire destroys more than 76 homes

The Stephan Bridge Road Fire, which began on May 8, 1990, eventually spread across 5,916 acres of wildland/urban interface area near Crawford, Michigan.  The fire eventually destroyed more than 76 homes, and 125 other structures, plus 37 vehicles and boats.  Losses from the fire were estimated at $5.5 million, plus $700,000 in destroyed timber (all told, $10.8 million in today’s dollars).

 

The fire originated from a controlled burn which rekindled seven weeks after the initial ignition, and spread to nearby ground fuels.  The weather played a significant role in this fire: low rainfall, rising temperatures, and high winds combined to dry out the forest and ground fuels.  Then, during fire suppression, strong gusting winds sent the fire out of control in a new direction.

 

This wildfire represents just one example of the risks of building homes in the wildland urban interface.  NFPA members can read the full investigation report. Anyone interested in fire hazards and safety in the wildland urban interface can visit http://www.firewise.org/.

fireInvest.jpgA major after-business hours, high-rise office building fire occurred on Wednesday, May 4, 1988 in the city of Los Angeles, California, resulting in one fatality and ultimately destroying four floors of the First Interstate Bank Building.  The 62-story, fire-resistive building is located in the heart of the city's business district.  The Los Angeles City Fire Department described the suppression effort as the most challenging and difficult high-rise fire in the city's history.  It took a total of 64 companies and 338 fire fighters more than 3 1/2 hours to control the fire.  The fire is of great technical significance because of the interior and exterior fire spread, the significant internal smoke spread, and the role of modern office environment materials and their arrangement in relation to fire growth and development. 

 

For more information on this, take a look at the Fire Investigation First Interstate Bank report.

On April 29, 1986, a fire occurred in the Central Library of Los Angeles, California.  The 400 occupants evacuated the library in about eight minutes without a mishap, but the ensuing fire resulted in a commitment of over 70 pieces of fire apparatus and nearly 350 firefighters, and took 7.5 hours to extinguish.  Fifty-five firefighters suffered minor injuries during fire suppression.

 

The fire destroyed an estimated 200,000 books, the largest collection of patents in the western United States, and 2/3 of the library’s magazine collection.  In addition, about half of the library’s 1.2 million volumes were damaged by water and smoke.  The area of fire origin was in one of the book stacks and the fire was suspicious in nature.

 

The complex arrangement of the large floors prevented firefighters from immediately locating the fire.  The lack of sprinkler protection in many areas, the presence of vertical ventilation and other unprotected openings, as well as the abundant fuel contributed to the severity of the fire.  NFPA members can read the full investigation report for free.

On April 27, 1998, a fire in an occupied board and care facility in Arlington, Washington killed eight of the building’s 32 residents.  The facility was originally built as a hospital but had undergone several renovations and changes in usage over the years, and was not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system.  A local fire alarm system was installed with hardwired, AC powered smoke detectors and heat detectors in corridors and common areas.  There were also manual pull stations next to the exterior exit doors.

 

The fire was determined to be incendiary in nature, and is believed to have begun when a resident ignited her bedding material with either a lighter or matches.  Based on NFPA’s investigation and analysis, the following were significant factors contributing to the loss of life in this incident.

 

  • Lack of an automatic fire sprinkler system
  • Lack of system smoke detectors in the room of origin
  • An open door in the room of origin
  • Additional open doors

 

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and all site visitors can read a summary of the investigation.

Nacogdoches, Texas.pngAt approximately 12:25 p.m., on April 16, 1984, workmen were performing arc welding operations on a hot press in the International Paper Company's Nacogdoches, Texas plywood manufacturing plant.  During welding operations, deposits of oil, pitch, and wood dust which collected on the press, the catwalks, the wood structural members of the roof assembly, and the plywood roof deck ignited.  The fire spread rapidly over the accumulated deposits both above and below the automatic sprinklers.  Fire department units began arriving at the plant at 12:28 p.m. and found the plywood manufacturing facility heavily involved in fire.  Within five minutes after the arrival of the initial fire department units, the building was "fully involved."  Roof collapse began approximately ten minutes later.  The fire destroyed the plywood manufacturing facility, resulting in an estimated loss of 32.5 million dollars.

 

Construction of the plant facilities began in 1969, and the plant was operational in August 1970.  The plywood manufacturing building encompassed approximately 218,000 undivided square feet of all wood construction.  In 1979, a 19,000 square foot addition of steel construction was added to the south end of the original building.  This addition housed the jet dryers and other processing equipment.

 

The building was protected throughout by twelve dry-pipe automatic sprinkler systems and two dry-pipe standpipe systems.

Three factors were identified during the investigation as significant in the rapid fire spread and loss of the building.  These factors were:

The accumulation of highly combustible deposits of oil, pitch, and wood dust generated in the plywood manufacturing process;

The lack of adequate fire prevention measures during arc welding operations;

The obstructed piping with in the dry-pipe automatic sprinkler systems.

For more information on this Fire Investigation report Plywood Manufacturing Plant Fire Those who would like more information on industrial and manufacturing fires Fires in U.S. Industrial and Manufacturing Facilities

At 3:08 a.m. on April 6, 1990, the Miami Beach Fire department received a telephone call reporting a fire at the Fontana Hotel. First-in fire units found the hotel's lobby area heavily involved in fire and began simultaneous suppression and rescue operations.  Before the fire had been extinguished 9 patrons died and the building was extensively damaged.

 

Investigators were unable to determine the cause of the fire which appeared to have originated in a crawl space above a storage room.  Once the fire burned out of the crawl space, it ignited combustible ceiling tiles and other combustible materials in a lobby area.  Smoke and fire in the lobby area spread to the second and third stories through a utility shaft, normal cracks and voids in the structure, and HVAC ductwork.

 

Retroactive application of the NFPA Life Safety Code by the Miami Beach Fire Department contributed to the large number of survivors in this incident.  This is especially remarkable when the general construction of the building, advanced age of the majority of guests, and the time of alarm are considered.  More than 90 percent of the building population survived.  Well-constructed stair towers contributed to the evacuation of guests in the building.

 

Early in the morning of April 2, 1973, a fire involved a second-floor night club in a 12 story hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. This fire was of particular interest because it exposed a 10 story atrium in the center of the hotel, and even though property damage was high, only one of the 1,000 guests required hospital treatment. The fire was discovered coming from the nightclub at 4:30 a.m. by a maintenance employee, who activated a manual fire alarm station and then pulled out a standpipe hose and began applying water.

 

The atrium, located in the middle of the building was filled with smoke when firefighters arrived, and visibility was down to 10 feet in most areas. Most of the firefighters were assigned to prevent panic among the occupants and assist with evacuation. NFPA’s Fire Journal article regarding the incident found several items of note:

    • The building’s mechanical exhaust system did not operate; because the switch connecting the smoke detection system to the smoke exhaust system had been turned off (the system had to be manually turned on during firefighting operations)
    • Visibility was severely reduced, to the point of obscuring exit signs
    • Exit doorways were painted the same color as the surrounding wall, obscuring their location to occupants in the dense smoke
    • Guests attempted to use the automatic elevators for escape; since the elevators could not be manually controlled for escape, firefighters had to ride the cars to prevent their being used
    • The large volume of the atrium permitted dilution of smoke in the early stages of the fire, enabling some guests to escape without much confusion
    • Quick action by firefighters to control panic probably held injuries to a minimum; one firefighter was injured in this incident

 

NFPA members can read the Fire Journal + article.

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