Industrial Firefighting

The High Street Lofts Fire

Issue 11 and Volume 172.

By Braden Peter One of the largest and most devastating fires the Petersburg (VA) Fire Rescue and Emergency Services (PFRES) experienced occurred on the morning of January 16, 2018. The structure fire at 424 High Street taxed our firefighters to their breaking point as they faced perhaps the largest fire in the city’s history. The Building The fire started in the old Seward Trunk and Bag Company at 510 High Street and ultimately reached a fifth alarm. This mega manufacturing plant and warehouse, built in 1878, was then the largest building of its type. The facility featured Type IV, heavy timber construction. Buildings built in the late 1800s were designed to last; the wood members of floor and roof assemblies were full cut lumber. Each floor plate consisted of 4 × 10 floor joists set on 12-inch centers. The sub-flooring material consisted of 1- × 2-inch planks; the finished tongue-and-groove…

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