Fire Prevention & Protection, Fireground Management, Structural Firefighting

Fire in an Unfinished Apartment Complex: Tactics That Prevented a Total Loss

Issue 1 and Volume 171.

By Walter Nugent Many members of the fire ­service have been educated on the hazards of fighting fires in buildings that have been constructed of lightweight construction (LWC). Some of the most common hazards are the large void spaces not found with dimensional lumber, the likelihood that the building itself will become a large part of the fire load, and that it is assembled with glue and gusset plates that can fail under fire conditions. There are also the hazards of fighting fires in buildings while they are under construction; structural members are not yet protected by drywall, and fire walls and partitions are not in place. Fire detection and suppression systems may not be operational or approved by building inspectors. It is critically important to know what safety features exist when LWC products are used, especially when the building is still under construction. This article describes how fire progressed…

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