Leadership

CAN HIGH-RISE COLUMNS FAIL?

Issue 11 and Volume 144.

CAN HIGH-RISE COLUMNS FAIL? Two recent fires in high-rise buildpings—One Meridian Plaza in Philadelphia and the First Interstate Bank in Los Angeles—have presented the fire service with the unthinkable problem of a multifloor raging fire in an unsprinklered high-rise building. It is reasonable to assume that there will be other such fires. Both fires were fought by fire departments with great resources. Only a handful of departments could mount and sustain such operations. All fire departments, particularly those without such resources, should press vigorously for full sprinkler protection for all high-rise structures. The duration and intensity of the two fires focused attention on the possible loss of strength and stability of the structural frame. In both eases, the structural steel frame endured the fire. Can we draw’ from these experiences that we need not fear collapse-even in a raging high-rise fire? I believe the answer is a resounding no. In…

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