Fire in Apartment Construction

Issue 3 and Volume 124.

Fire in Apartment Construction The difficulty of providing fire protection to buildings under construction in outlying areas and the hazards of some of today’s construction practices were highlighted by a $500,000 blaze in San Jose, Calif., last September 21. Two two-story frame apartment structures nearing completion were destroyed and three others were damaged. The location, at 5502 Snell Avenue, is 7 miles from the heart of downtown San Jose (pop. 465,000 spread over nearly 130 square miles), in what was during the 1960s the nation’s fastest-growing urban area. Portions of the destroyed apartments, each containing 10 units, were covered with exterior building paper, and roofs were being tarred. Windows and doors were not in place. Stairways were wide open. A propane-heated roofer’s tar kettle was being used in the narrow space between two buildings. Because there was no jack or other support under the rear of the kettle to prevent…

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