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Oct 01 2012

Fire and Egress Doors in the News

Category: Egress,Glass,NewsLori @ 3:30 pm Comments (11)

Here are some recent news stories you might be interested in reading…

Daniel Ferraris, retired locksmith, sells NYC master keys on eBay – Huffington Post

The Post cited two FDNY sources saying that one master firefighter key could send all the elevators in a building — any building — out of service, trapping thousands of people on high floors. The same key also opens locked subway entrances and firehouses as well as lockboxes with yet more keys at construction sites.  The two other keys are used by city electricians to open circuit-breaker boxes in skyscrapers and give access to street lights.  The apparent security loophole is especially notable given the elaborate, and often controversial, steps New York City has taken since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Aurora Theater shooting victims file suits against Cinemark – Denver Post

The exterior door to the theater that the shooter exited through and propped open did not have an alarm, the lawsuit states. And theater employees did not monitor the parking lots behind the theater, where the shooter is believed to have moved his car and armed himself before re-entering through the propped-open door.

“Any person who wished to make a surreptitious and unauthorized entry into the theater could easily determine that the lack of security personnel and lack of any alarm on the door at the right, front by the screen of (the) auditorium would allow them to leave the theater, and re-enter without fear of being discovered, interfered with, monitored or stopped,” the lawsuits state.

Torquay hotel firm fined £40,000 after Bideford fire put lives at risk – This is Cornwall

The fire alarm failed, an exit was blocked by cans of cooking oil, and one guest was sent back to bed when flames were spreading through the building.  A 73-year-old guest was left in panic and terror when she was trapped between one fire exit which failed to open and another door which had no handle.  The company running the hotel, in Bideford’s New Street, failed to implement safety improvements called for by experts more than three years before the fire, on May 31 last year.

Catching Fire – Construction Week Online

The Middle East’s fire safety market is expected to turn into a $1.12bn industry by 2013, according to a recent study.  UAE launched its ‘Fire and Safety Code of Practice’ mid-2011 which is largely based on the International Building Code (IBC). Other countries mainly follow either North-American, European or British Standards. This can result in projects where fire standards are mixed together which is not necessarily a good thing.

Locked fire exits trap Carleton students inside residence during fire alarm – Ottawa Citizen

Some Carleton University students could not flee their residence building during a fire alarm early Wednesday morning because the emergency exits at both ends of their floor were locked.  A fire alarm went off in the new Lennox-Addington building just before 1 a.m. When students tried to leave their single and double rooms on the eighth floor, the doors were locked from the inside and out. Several other students were trapped in an elevator lobby between the two wings of the floor and could not open either set of doors.  A picture, supplied to the Citizen, shows a sign on one of the doors that reads, “Emergency Exit — Door Unlocked By Fire Alarm.”  But that’s the opposite of what happened, the students say.

Robber gets trapped inside Citizens Bank – WTAE Pittsburgh

A suspected bank robber was arrested and taken to a hospital Thursday morning after getting trapped and finding himself unable to leave the building in Lawrenceville.  Channel 4 Action News’ Bob Mayo reported that the man got stuck between the double glass doors at Citizens Bank on Butler Street when an employee hit a switch to activate that built-in safety measure shortly after 9 a.m.

Owner of Station Nightclub donates site for memorial –

The owner of the site of a 2003 nightclub fire that killed 100 people is donating the land for a permanent memorial, bringing an end to a years-long effort to secure the site of The Station fire by families of those killed and survivors of the blaze.  Dan McKiernan, a lawyer for Ray Villanova, transferred ownership of the plot of land in West Warwick to the Station Fire Memorial Foundation on Friday, five months before the 10th anniversary of the blaze, which started when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White set fire to flammable foam that lined the walls of the club.

Fire flat building changes: 15 minutes to ‘flashover’ – Sydney Morning Herald

Investigators have found the front fire-safety door was wedged open at the time of the fire, exposing the whole block to the risk of fire from the flat. A senior emergency services official familiar with the investigation said ”flashover” – an explosive burst that occurs when a fire is so hot that gases and smoke ignite – occurred within 15 minutes of the fire starting. The official did not wish to be named because of a coming coronial inquiry.

He said the open front door created a wind tunnel after fire spread from candles or incense on the balcony to an airconditioning unit, then took hold in a nearby futon-style lounge.

March 25, 1911: As the closing hours of the day approached, a fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Factory in New York City that resulted in 146 people losing their lives in 18 minutes. The company was a typical textile manufacturing unit based in Manhattan, characterized by long working hours, low wages, and unhealthy, unhygienic working conditions.

September 11, 2012: Over a century later, as the closing hours of the day approached, a fire broke out at Ali Enterprises Factory in Karachi, killing almost 300 people. The company was a typical textile manufacturing unit characterized by long working hours, low wages, and unhygienic working conditions. Workers were unable to leave the office premises because the doors were locked – a practice to prevent them from leaving their shifts early.

Doors set the stage for historical authenticity at Shea’s – The Buffalo News

The $600,000 doors project was made possible through funds from the New York State Dormitory Authority. The entrance doors on Pearl Street also are being replaced.  “We’re just thrilled to be part of the renovation of Shea’s,” said David Dawson, a third-generation business owner whose Jamestown company, Dawson Metal and Dawson Doors, manufactured the doors. “It’s such a beautiful landmark – kind of the heart and soul of Buffalo, I think.”  Two other local companies were also involved. The decorative molding was done by Jamestown Bronze Works, and the glazing was done by South Buffalo Glazing.   Restoration consultant Doris Collins said she is excited to see the new doors and that new polishing materials will help keep them and the brass inner doors looking shiny for years to come.


And one more that has nothing to do with doors…I know some of you read the blog post about my friend Kris, who is battling metastatic cancer.  I saw some of your names on the donation list and their family is SO APPRECIATIVE (me too)!  Kris and her daughter are on the cover of a local parenting magazine this month, so check it out if you’re interested.

Here’s a link to the article.

Or you can download a pdf copy here.

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11 Responses to “Fire and Egress Doors in the News”

  1. Brian W. Mead says:

    I looked at the article and I’m wondering if anyone realized that by publishing a picture of the keys the way they show them, any good locksmith, or any ???, could duplicate the keys just from the picture. Very Scary!!!

    • Lori says:

      The whole thing is very scary. I don’t know how a locksmith, even one who is retiring, could sell these keys to a random person. I have always worried about Knox Box keys. Our fire trucks in town drive around with a big ring of keys hanging from the dash on the passenger side. I went to a “Touch-A-Truck” event at our preschool and asked the fireman about the keys that were right there within my reach when the fireman turned away to help the kids. He said they were the keys to every building owned by the town, plus some commercial buildings. HEL-LO!!!

  2. cda says:

    so if some of the key story is true, why wasn’t there more control of the keys???

    that is some master set!!! if it can control NY???????

    better than the Knox system

    some of those keys are common ones that are still in use today for elevators adn fire alarm boxes, and not very controlled.

    there are quite a few elevator keys available on ebay same with fire alarm

    now the subway and firehouse keys may be a little tougher

  3. cda says:

    If they are still using the locks that some of those keys go to, don’t you think there is more of a security problem then a set of keys being sold?????

  4. cda says:

    Looks like someone could have picked up some of those keys on thier travels:::

  5. Chuck Park says:

    The second and fourth keys in that picture are both Yale 255 keys, widely used in thousands of elevators throughout the US, and also the swinging gates adjacent to the exit “turnstile gates” at each subway station.
    There was a guy selling 255 keys about a year or so ago marketing them specifically as subway gate “Masterkeys”. There was a big uproar inside the MTA to switch those cylinders for something new, but an acquaintance who recently retired from the MTA’s subway division says the gates are still all 255s with few exceptions.

    • Lori says:

      Sounds like it’s time for a new high security patented key system!

      • Kurt Roeper says:

        In response to the comment about a high-security patented key system – that is precisely what is now required by the 2012 IFC. Section 607.5 added new language to tighten the security gaps discussed above, and states “Fire service elevator keys shall be of a patent-protected design to prevent unauthorized duplication”. There are numerous other requirements found in section 607.5 through 607.5.4 regarding elevator keys.

  6. Ryan Krakowsky says:

    Looks like The Wonder Theatre bought an “M” instead of a “W”

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