Building Construction, Fire Prevention & Protection

Fighting Fires in Crawlspaces

Issue 1 and Volume 173.

By Michael P. Wolfschmidt It is six o’clock in the evening on a cold winter’s night, and your company is called to an odor of smoke on the first floor of a two-story wood-frame duplex. There is nothing apparent from the exterior, and a search of the residence reveals an odor of burning wood and light smoke coming from a light fixture in the kitchen ceiling. After you secure the circuit breaker and remove the light fixture, smoke is steadily emitting from the hole even though no fire or charring is present. You pull the gypsum board back, and there still is no evidence of fire or charring. Where is the smoke coming from? You check nearby appliances and outlets. Nothing. A firefighter is directed to check the home from the exterior. On removing the crawlspace hatch, he is met with heavy smoke and fire. A 1¾-inch line is quickly…

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