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Dunn's Dispatch: High-rise Fire Secret

By Vincent DunnThe best-kept secret in Americas fire service is that firefighters cannot extinguish a fire in a high-rise office building. A fully involved office floor area of 10 or 20 thousand square feet is too large. It is beyond any fire company's ability to extinguish that much flame with a hose stream. A fire company advancing a 2 ½-inch hoseline with a 1⅛-inch nozzle discharges 250 gallons per minute, and it can extinguish about 2,500 square feet of fire. Two lines, side by side, can handle maybe 5,000 square feet of fire.A modern open-floor office design, with cubicle work stations and dwarf partitions that do not extend to the ceiling, allows fire to spread through...

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