Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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May 07 2012

Effects of Fire Doors on an Apartment Fire

Category: FDAI,Fire DoorsLori @ 12:06 pm Comments (6)

On January 19th, 2011, Firefighter Mark Falkenhan was killed in the line of duty while fighting an apartment fire at 30 Dowling Circle in the Hillendale section of Baltimore County, Maryland.  The fire was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the video below details the events leading to this fatality.

The apartment doors had a major impact on the spread of smoke and fire, and the blocking of egress routes.  According to the video, the doors were equipped with “auto-closers” (I was told by someone from the ATF that he thought the doors had spring hinges) but did not close because of the door sweep contacting the carpet.  The video includes alternate models of the fire spread with doors closed, as well as photos of the apartments with open vs. closed doors, and a bedroom with a closed hollow core door.  The ATF report can be downloaded here.

A fire door inspection and resolution of the carpet/sweep issue might have saved a life here.

6 Responses to “Effects of Fire Doors on an Apartment Fire”

  1. Dan Hogan says:

    This was very powerful in both the message and the tragedy. This will be mandatory viewing for all of our personnel. Thank you for publishing this Lori

  2. Chad Jenkins says:

    FF Mark Falkenhan will live on in the memories of many that watch this video. He will continue to save lives with thanks to the individuals that put the effort to share this story and provide empirical evidence as to how this could have been avoided. I will make this a part of the training to institutional locksmiths that are responsible for the doors in their facility.

  3. Robert Wright says:

    This is a great package of information for all levels. This should be on books for training with Locksmiths to firefighters. The new codes address some of this issue but I think most of the industry need to see this issue of doors. It will be great for all levels Thank you

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