FIRE RESISTIVE BUILDINGS
The National Fire Protection Association, which has been giving much attention of late to fire prevention, illustrated in its July quarterly several fires which had been selected to show the behavior of various forms of fire resistive construction under exposure to fire from within or without. Among these examples was the office building of the Emerson-Brantingham Company of Rockford, Ill. This building was built of brick, three stories in height, with tile and reinforced concrete floors and roof, supported by reinforced concrete posts and beams. No wood in top floors, and the only material to burn consisted of windows, internal trimmings, office furniture and low partitions, all largely of oak. Building was 210 by 62 feet, detached, and had no internal protection, being dependent on the standard lire equipment of the works, consisting of hydrants fed by two 1,000-gallon Underwriter pumps and a large tank on 100-foot trestle. The first floor was devoted largely to show-room of agricultural implements; second floor to general offices subdivided by numerous wood partitions of glass and wood nearly all about 8 feet high; third floor to dining room and supply room.
The tire occured on second floor of office building The first and third floors were not seriously affected, but were damaged by smoke and water, as the substantial construction practically conlined bre to the second floor, where it started at the east end about 10:30 p. m., due. it is understood. to carelessness on the part of office force, members of which had been at work during the evening and had been smoking. The watchman reported everything right at 10 o’clock, at which time the men in office were making preparations to leave. Fire was discovered bursting from windows at east end, second story, and by the time fire streams were applied, it had extended over the easterly half of the room. Shortly after, a so-called “hot-air” explosion drove men from the room and spread the lire throughout its entire length of about 20U feet, shrivelling everything combustible and cracking the heavy window glass at extreme west end. The tire passed up the marble and iron stairway to third floor and, bursting also from windows at east end. burned out windows above and thus entered the third floor, hut gained little foothold owing to absence of much combustible material there. Practically everything in the main room on the second floor was destroyed, including many valuable office records, the lower floor being seriously damaged by smoke and water. On the second floor, 12 of the concrete posts were spalled so as to materially reduce their size, but they can be repaired. Three concrete beams in ceiling had reinforced rods exposed, and much of the cement plaster and the under side of the tiles dropped in places. The upper part of the east brick wall cracked, due to expansion of the floor, and part will need to be rebuilt. On the third floor the fire cracked the cement window sills at east end, and the cement belt around the building at this floor was cracked and spalled. The north and south walls were pushed slightly out of line, showing the effect of the expansion of the floor, which was also shown by the cracks in the marble mosaic floor of the dining room. It was somewhat surprising that the amount of heat developed by the burning of the office furniture, papers, etc., should have caused such excessive havoc with the material used in the construction of the building. It is to be noted, however, that the essential members of the building and its supports, as shows by loading tests made after the fire indicate that the strength was not impaired, and that these will not require replacement, the expense necessary being largely on what might be called the superficial part of the building. The loss was about $75,000. The fire again emphasizes the fact that the large general office buildings now being built in our cities are exposed to this same hazard, and that adequate safeguards should be provided, especially in those of considerable height.