Firefighting

The Dangers of Modular Construction

Issue 5 and Volume 162.

BY KEVIN A. GALLAGHER As if lightweight construction materials in residential occupancies weren’t challenging enough, consider an attic filled with lightweight trusses supporting a roof over floor joists that are attached to the underlying gypsum board by highly flammable glue! Sound alarming? Now consider a concealed space greater than 20 inches high, 48 feet long, and 14 feet deep between the first and second levels of the same home. Oh, by the way, all the ceiling joists in the void are sprayed with the same flammable glue. These homes are often covered with vinyl siding or, what one chief calls, “solidified gasoline wrap.” One more thing: These conditions can be found in thousands of homes across the country. THE INCIDENT On January 13, 2008, the Acushnet (MA) Fire/Rescue Department responded to a 911 call reporting a fire at a single-family residence. Four minutes after receipt of the call, a member…

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