Fire Prevention & Protection

Sprinkler Support Crucial at Large Warehouse Fires

Issue 11 and Volume 170.

BY JAMES BURNHAM Following the development of the forklift truck and the pallet during World War II, warehouses and storage occupancies quickly adopted these means of material handling, enabling more efficient storage and handling of nearly any product. Prior to these developments, most product was hand-stacked, which limited the maximum storage height to how high a man could reach. Greater storage heights led to higher and larger buildings. The subsequent development of the storage rack further enhanced storage possibilities, again increasing building heights and sizes (photo 1). These developments led to the large distribution centers and warehouse retail stores of today. The typical construction features of these buildings include a roof height of more than 20 feet, a floor area of more than 100,000 square feet (500 feet × 200 feet equals 100,000 square feet), a single-story, a largely windowless exterior, and noncombustible construction. The warehouse retail stores are at…

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