When I see a blocked exit, a propped-open fire door, or any of the myriad modifications that are not code-compliant, I do what I can to address the situation. I have spoken to employees in person, sent emails to managers, and when that didn’t get results, I have asked the local fire marshal for help.
Sometimes I’ve been accused of worrying too much about a problem that will probably never occur. What are the chances that the blocked exit will result in a fatality, or the propped-open fire door will allow smoke and flames to spread? Admittedly, the chances are slim, but the “what-ifs” keep me awake at night.
I’m guessing that the parents who took their kids to the Winter Cherry Mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Sunday believed that their families were safe. But according to news reports, a disabled fire alarm and blocked exits led to the deaths of 64 adults and children. The speed at which the smoke filled the mall – obscuring security cameras – is hard to believe.
In an emergency, the ability to quickly evacuate can be key to survival. Life safety is everyone’s responsibility. If you see something, say something.
Exits were blocked at Siberian mall where fire killed 64 – The Week
As a fire spread through the Winter Cherry shopping mall in Kemerovo, Siberia, on Sunday, a security guard turned off the public address system and some people trying to escape couldn’t open fire exits because they had been illegally blocked, Russian investigators announced Monday.
‘Flagrant violations’ of safety norms cited in Siberia inferno – ABS CBN News
Investigators and witnesses said emergency exits were locked shut — notably at a multiplex cinema where children were watching cartoons — and alarm systems were not working at the Winter Cherry shopping centre in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.
“Investigators have already obtained proof of the flagrant violations that led to such serious consequences,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.
Criminal probe launched into deadly Russian mall fire – NBC News
Russian authorities launched a criminal investigation Monday into the deadly inferno that swept through a shopping mall the day before, killing at least 64 people, some of whom were trapped by illegally blocked fire exits, according to authorities and news agencies.
Officials have not yet determined the exact cause of the blaze, which started Sunday afternoon and burned for 12 hours at the Winter Cherry mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.
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I’m assuming I saw it here, but I recall seeing something that showed how much more quickly a present-day living room will become fully invested with smoke and flame compared to a living room from the middle of last century. The rapidity with which the smoke filled the room in that video strongly reminded me of that demonstration, and makes me wonder if modern building materials are creating a similar situation in larger structures.
If things burn faster, people will have to be able to get out of the building faster unless in order to keep the human cost at the same level. Something about watching smoke move along the ceiling as fast as people who are hurrying to get out is disturbing…we may someday need to figure out a whole new way of doing emergency egress to deal with the more rapid spread of flame that seems common in modern buildings.
A simple solution that has been around for along time:::
Very low to no death with active sprinklers.