Do You Have Information On The Following?

Francis L. Brannigan, SFPE (Fellow), author of Building Construction for the Fire Service, Third Edition, (National Fire Protection Association, 1992), and of the Ol’ Professor and Preplanning columns in Fire Engineering, is asking for information on the following. It can be e-mailed to him at

Hidden combustible acoustical tile. Recently, two firefighters died in a collapse at a church fire in Pittsburgh, Pa. Reports indicate that a backdraft not related to the collapse occurred early in the fire. Backdrafts are often caused by the ignition of a concealed mass of CO.

The fire was reported to have started in a kitchen. This makes me think of a church hall with an old combustible tile ceiling concealed above a newer flame-spread-compliant tile on a steel-grid ceiling. Such a combination has cost lives on several occasions. Do you know if that ceiling was constructed in this manner?

A unique backdraft. Press reports tell us that an Albany, N.Y., fire officer suffered severe burns when flammable gases from a fire next door ignited violently. Are you aware of any other similar experiences?

Carbon fibers add tensile strength to wood. Do you know anything about the use of carbon fibers to increase the load-carrying capacity of wooden beams?

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