Last week, 3 lives were lost in a fire that occurred in a residential high-rise in Honolulu, Hawaii. Although the cause is not yet known, the media focus has been on the lack of sprinklers in the building which would have controlled the fire spread; it is reported that 40-50 units are a total loss.
I have not seen any mention of fire door assemblies in the news reports, possibly because at least some of the doors operated properly. This may have helped to limit the fatalities, as some of the photos show apartments that were not heavily damaged by fire and smoke. The photo below from KITV4 is a good illustration of how closed and latched fire doors protected the stairwell as a means of egress for building occupants.
The video below shows blackened corridors, which indicates that the fire extended from the unit of fire origin to the corridor. Eventually the fire consumed apartments on other floors of the building.
Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather – KITV Channel 4
Several recent fires in high-rise buildings have illustrated the need to review the fire safety features in these existing buildings, particularly those that were built before the codes required sprinkler systems.
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The review of fire safety features on older buildings is especially critical on apartment buildings and hotels where occupants are often asleep and/or intoxicated. Very scary to think that there are so many of these old buildings.
Fire doors were not a part of the initial conversation, but they did come up in several of the lawsuits that were eventually filed.
“Widespread use of propped-open Fire Doors that created open pathways for fire and smoke to spread throughout the building instead of being contained to the unit of origin;”
“Longtime resident Thomas Schmidt, who lives on the 26th floor close to where the fire started, said many apartments have louvered doors with horizontal slats that allow ocean breezes to cool the units, but he said those doors may have contributed to the fire’s spread.”
Wow! Thanks Rick!