Firefighting

PYROLYSIS DANGER IN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

Issue 3 and Volume 148.

PYROLYSIS DANGER IN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT BY RANDALL D. LARSON Two house fires that occurred in late 1993 in a residential tract of nearly 300 homes in south San Jose`s Almaden Valley kindled the interest of San Jose fire investigators. It was discovered that conducted heat from forced-air furnaces that were faulty or improperly designed or mounted caused the fires. Since the fires had identical causes involving ceiling-mounted heating systems with identical configurations, concerned firefighters brought in city building inspectors to verify the safety of the homes in the housing tract. The houses in the development are large and close together. The outer ring of the tract features 4,000-square-foot model homes surrounding two inner circles of 2,000-square-foot homes. Both fires occurred in the inner circle. These incidents and the ensuing investigation highlighted how important it is for fire departments to know what resources in other city departments are available to them…

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