The Brooklyn Theater fire of 1876 is an example of the importance of fire safety training. The building more than met code for the era. The 200+ fatalities are the fault of management not training staff on evacuations, fire procedures, and chain of command.
Mall fire protection is complex. Each store has its own fire hazards, and it takes a real pro to know how to protect it correctly (plus, keep that protection maintained). The stories below show case malls that not only adequately protected their property and maintained their fire sprinkler and alarm systems, but inadvertently tested the systems with real life fires.
Installing fire sprinkler systems is only the first step to protecting malls. You need to inspect them and maintain them as well. F.E. Moran Fire Protection has a VIP program for malls. Malls get FREE inspections, and F.E. Moran Fire Protection does all the maintenance. Simple solution to malls' fire protection needs.
Fire crews found a fire in a restaurant storage closet at Eastridge Mall.
Before firefighters arrived, a single fire sprinkler head in the building activated. This sprinkler controlled the fire until firefighters could arrive and extinguish it completely.
In an official statement, the fire department said that the fire was contained to that small storage area and the damage was minimal. The exact cost of the damage has not yet been determined. In addition, no one was injured.
"The presence of the system in this case limited spread of the fire to other areas of the structure. What could have been a well-developed and growing fire was controlled in the area of origin until arrival of firefighters. These systems represent an important life safety and property protection component of modern structures," said Casper Fire-EMS.
A fire was reported at 9:17pm at an electronic store at Irving Mall. Heavy smoke was reported; however, when firefighters arrived, the mall's fire sprinkler had already activated. By 10:20pm, the fire was under control.
The fire was contained in the room it originated. There was heavy smoke, but firefighters used fans to vent the smoke out of the building.
A fire at Concord Mills started at 9:15am in the bathroom of an FYE store. Concord Fire Chief Ray Allen reported that the sprinkler system kicked on and helped put out the fire. The stores were able to re-open within two hours of the fire.
Fairfax County fire investigators said that an exhaust fan started a 2-alarm fire at the Tysons Corner Center mall. When firefighters arrived, they reported smoke coming from the roof, and they were quickly able to put out the fire.
The fire was started by an overheated exhaust fan motor that came in contact with paper towel rolls. The fire was in the storage closet of a kiosk. A fire sprinkler ignited and contained the fire until firefighters arrived to extinguish it.
In total, there was about $30,000 in damages and no injuries.
Fire crews responded to a fire in the kitchen of a restaurant at Mill Woods Mall. The fire was contained by an activated fire sprinkler until firefighters could extinguish it.
Magnificent Mile Parking Gets Safer
The Shops at Northbridge is a bustling shopping experience that brings tourists in for a sweet treat at Sugar Factory or a new outfit at Nordstrom. Hundreds, maybe thousands of cars are in and out of the parking garage at 10 East Grand Avenue each day. They need to be protected, so F.E. Moran Fire Protection, Northern Illinois (FPN) was hired to install fire protection in the 11-story parking garage and an adjacent 2-story parking garage - while remaining open. The challenges of working in an open parking garage were real, but they met the difficult task head on and the project ended successfully.
Two Parking Garage Projects with No Closures
The project was challenging on multiple levels. Both, the 11-story and 2-story parking garage remained open during the entire project. This made coordination and scheduling especially important on this project.
The project schedule was very aggressive. FPN was awarded the project in mid-August and needed to complete it before Thanksgiving when the shopping rush would begin for the holidays. Not only did FPN need to coordinate with having parts of the garage open at all times, they also needed to maintain a tight deadline. The aggressive timeline made getting materials on time more challenging, especially since special piping was needed and the lead times were too long for the project timeline.
Planning is the Key to Success
To meet the challenge of working in an open parking garage, FPN made diligent plans ahead of time. They scheduled out where the fitters would be installing and coordinated accordingly. That way, they could keep much of the parking garage open while completing their job on time.
Our project manager, Bob Modica, sought out materials from a variety of places to meet demands. He worked with several fabricators to get the materials he needed on time.
Nothing Compares to Team Effort
In the end, FPN installed a dry-pipe fire protection system with a nitrogen generator with 3,900 sprinkler heads. A nitrogen generation system, when added to a dry pipe sprinkler system, removes oxygen and reduces corrosion. Nitrogen has a negative dew point, which dries out any water that may be in the pipes, eliminating two elements that cause corrosion.
The Magnificent Mile parking garage got a dry-pipe system with nitrogen to prevent corrosion, on time without inconveniencing Shops of Northbridge guests. Bob Modica said, "This was truly a team effort. The field, design, purchasing, and project management all worked together and most importantly, communicated well throughout the project to make this a highly successful project."
High-rise buildings present unique challenges when it comes to the area of fire safety. In most buildings, those inside will only need to travel down a flight or two of stairs to get to safety, if they have to travel down any flights of stairs at all. In a high-rise building, however, people might need to travel down several flights of stairs to get to ground level and out the door.
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Even so, there are many misconceptions about high-rise building safety that, once disproven, will make the issue much more clear. Here are six fire safety tips for those living and working in high-rise buildings.
1. Stairways Stay Safe
The first misconception when it comes to high-rise building safety is that even the stairways will be dangerous during a fire. In reality, high-rise buildings are designed to be as fire resistant as possible, and this especially extends to the buildings’ stairways. Most high-rise fires end up becoming contained to one specific apartment or floor while the stairways remain unaffected. As a result, an individual’s top priority when faced with a high-rise fire is to seek the nearest stairway immediately.
Related: Fire at 30 Rock - Fires in History
2. Be Sure to Call 911
One common mistake that people make in cases of high-rise fires is assuming that someone else has already called 911. It’s far better to assume that someone has already called and then call anyway than to assume someone has called when they actually haven’t.
This way, you can potentially prevent the spread of the fire and even help others who might be trapped. If you’re calling on a cell phone, you can even call while making your way to safety.
3. Don’t Panic
Your first instinct will likely be to leave immediately. While this is understandable, it isn’t always the safest thing to do. If you know that a fire is burning and are about to leave your apartment, feel the door with the back of your hand. If your door feels warm or hot to the touch within five seconds, this indicates a dangerous fire condition in your corridor. You’ll want to get a wet towel and seal the cracks in the door where the smoke is entering into your apartment and inform the authorities of the situation as well as where you’re located. Try to breathe normally and stay calm; staying calm during an emergency can save your life and the lives of those around you.
4. Move Quickly but Safely
Natural human instinct will make you want to run out of your apartment as soon as possible, but there are certain steps you should take before leaving. If your apartment door is not warm or hot to the touch, it’s safe for you to crack open the door and check for the presence of smoke in your corridor. If the corridor is safe, you should alert everyone on the rest of your floor of the presence of the fire. You should close your apartment door without locking it and then carefully make your way to the nearest stairway. Under no circumstances should you use the elevators.
5. Know Your Building
No two high-rise buildings are alike. It’s important that you learn the layout and fire safety plan in your building before you find yourself in a dangerous situation. There will most likely be fire hose adapters and fittings located somewhere within your building as well as fire extinguishers, exits, and stairways.
Knowing your building can be the difference between life and death. Maps and other information should be available in all high-rise buildings, and this will give you the opportunity to study the layout of your building so that you’ll be better prepared should a fire safety issue arise in the future.
6. Stay Fire Safe
The key to fire safety is having a proper contingency plan, being prepared, and having the ability to stay calm even in a stressful situation. No one is ever expecting a high-rise fire, but there are things that you can do to ensure that you are as prepared as possible for one. This way, you can notify the authorities, alert others in your high-rise building about the fire, and get to safety.
If you take the necessary steps toward preparing for the possibility of a high-rise building fire, you will be that much more able to respond appropriately should the situation ever occur. Being prepared and vigilant are the keys to fire safety.
Alfonso Gonzalez is a freelance writer based in Malibu, California. He spent 25 years in the construction industry, working roofing, plumbing, electrical, and more before retiring. In his free time, he likes to work on home repair projects.
Firefighters say that fire sprinklers could help South Carolina's dire statistics. South Carolina is a leading state for fire-related deaths.
A recent fire showed that fire sprinklers make a huge difference. An apartment caught fire in Beaufort, SC, when firefighters arrived four minutes after the call, the fire was extinguished and no one was injured. In fact, firefighters didn't have much to do. They mopped up some water and called it a day.
"We've seen buildings that don't have sprinkler systems and buildings that do have sprinkler systems. It's quite a relief to get on a scene, see all those families evacuating, which was a good thing, and be able to go in there, and know that it's just a small, essentially a mop up operation," said Daniel Byrne with the Burton Fire District.
As an example of what can happen when there aren't sprinkler systems, Byrne explained a fire he worked on at another apartment complex.
"We had a major fire at the Mossy Oaks Village apartment complex a number of years ago, several families were displaced. It started as a fire in a closet and just grew out of control. There was no sprinkler system and they lost the building."
South Carolina opted to not require fire sprinklers in apartment buildings.
Byrne continued, "That frustrates us at the firefighter level because not only are we watching families become homeless, not only do we see the injuries and deaths, but we're putting our lives at risk going in to put out a fire that technology and codes could have eliminated before it even really got started."
Portland, OR -- A 3-alarm fire broke out at the Nike campus, bringing 65 firefighters from 3 different fire departments.
The Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue sent out a press release, saying that no one was injured in the three-alarm fire. The fire started in the Beaverton warehouse at 3:30pm on Monday, January 22.
When firefighters arrived, fire was venting from the sides of the roll-up doors.
The building was 25,000 square feet according to LT Ryan Stenhouse. The fire was mainly in the middle of the warehouse.
Related: 4-Alarm Warehouse Fire in Baltimore
The crews worked the fire for 40 minutes before calling a 2-alarm fire and then a 3-alarm fire.
It took a full hour for firefighters to search the warehouse because of all the materials on fire. Firefighters were able to confirm that no one was inside when the fire broke out.
The news release said that the warehouse had fire alarms, but it is unknown if there were fire sprinklers.
What does the ancient city of Pompeii and a small lumber town in Wisconsin have in common?
Warning Signs. Time to evacuate. Fast moving disaster.
Read our fire in history feature on the Peshtigo, WI fire and learn how this small town is reminiscent of the 79AD tourist town of Pompeii.
On Sunday, October 8, 1871 - the same day as the Great Chicago Fire - a control burn was taking place in Peshtigo, WI. At the time, Peshtigo was a logging town near Green Bay with a small population of less than 1,200 people.
A terrible drought was plaguing the Midwest the entire summer and into the fall in 1871. The day of the fire, winds were high with an incoming storm. While the rain was much needed, the wind was the catalyst in this disaster.
When the winds (110 MPH) came in, the control burn was no longer being controlled. It immediately swept through the town of wood buildings, forest, and wooden sidewalks. Witnesses were recorded as saying that when the fire swept through, it sounded like a train.
The fire traveled through the forest, burning 1.5 million acres of land through Wisconsin and Michigan. It became the worst forest fire in North American history.
The fire became a fire whirl (fire tornado), throwing rail cars and houses into the air.
While Peshtigo wasn't the only town affected by the fire, it was the only one that was nearly destroyed.
Reverend Peter Pernin recounted that during the fire the survivors flocked to the bodies of water nearby. Pernin waded in a river all night with several other people.
"The flames darted over the river as they did over land. The air was full of [flames], or, rather, the air itself was on fire. Our heads were in continual danger. It was only by throwing water constantly over them and our faces, and beating the river with our hands that we kept the flames at bay. Not far from me, a woman was supporting herself in the water with a log. After a time, a cow swam past. There was more than a dozen animals in the river, impelled by instinct, and they succeeded in saving their lives. The [cow] overturned the log to which the woman was clinging and she disappeared into the water. I thought her lost, but soon saw her emerge from [the river] holding on with one hand to the horns of the cow, and throwing water on herself with the other [hand]."
The next morning, the townspeople emerged from the river, looking like zombies, searching for family.
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In the end, the fire killed between 1,500 and 2,500 people through Wisconsin and Michigan. However, 1,000 of the victims were from Peshtigo, which was hit the worst.
The fire overtook the town and the only means of communication available - a telegraph line. No one could communicate. The town had no fire crews, only a single horse-drawn fire cart. No one knew of the fire for days. Once the media learned of the fire, doctors started to come to the town to treat survivors.
This fire was a true tragedy in the town. Families were found bound together by the fire. A single tavern had 200 victims in it. Some people couldn't take the thought of dying by fire and took action for themselves and their family. Most of the people who flocked to the river, other bodies of water, and wells survived, but some died from hypothermia or drowning. There were so many dead in Peshtigo that 350 people were buried in a mass grave because no one was alive to identify them.
The fire concluded when it reached the waters of Green Bay. At that time, the winds died down and rain started to fall, ending the fire.
At the same time as the Peshtigo fire, other fires were destroying towns. The Great Chicago fire and a fire in Door Peninsula happened on the same day. The theory is that the drought, several control burns taking place, and high winds caused all of the fires.
This fire was one of the worst in American history, yet, not too many people know about it. The Great Chicago Fire took over the media, even though the death toll was 350 versus 1,500-2,500.
Writer's note: As I researched the Peshtigo fire, it reminded me of Pompeii. Like Pompeii, the people of Peshtigo had signs that they should evacuate. Peshtigo looked like it had snowed with ash for days before the fire grew out of control. In Pompeii, the skies grew dark from the eruption and ash fell throughout the town, but it took a full day for the disaster to hit, giving citizens time to evacuate. Just like Peshtigo's 110MPH wind storm causing the disaster, Pompeii had a 100MPH surge of superheated poison gas and pulverized rock. Like the Peshtigo fire, the Mount Vesuvius volcano swallowed everything in its path - people and buildings alike.
What fire in history interests you most? Maybe we'll feature it on our next Fire in History blog. Comment below.
We interviewed Colleen Obos, Sales Executive, and Mike Jankovich, designer about their opinions on why our customer retention is so high at F.E. Moran Fire Protection.
In our interview, Colleen and Mike explain why customers continue working with F.E. Moran Fire Protection and what drew them to their jobs there.
Check out this inside look into our fire protection contracting and service business.
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2017 is over.
Last year was a wild ride with a new president, North Korea testing nukes, cryptocurrencies ruled, and so much more. The Moran Group had quite the year too. They had their 60th anniversary!
To celebrate the new year, we are sharing our top posts from 2017.
Our most popular post of the year was the Station Nightclub Fire blog and video. In 2003, the worst nightclub fire to occur in the U.S. made headlines. The pyrotechnics from an indoor concert caught sound proofing material on fire. The fire killed 100 people and injured 200 people.
Next up, our profile of the Logan Valley mall fire caught our readers interest as the second most viewed post. In 1994, a fire at the mall damaged 42 stores. It financially devastated several businesses. The NFPA determined that the main cause of the devastation was the lack of fire sprinklers.
Our blog post about the much-misunderstood 5-year fire sprinkler inspection caught the attention of property managers. The post even includes a 3-step video on what happens when an obstruction is found and a FREE e-course to learn more.
In Madison, Wisconsin, a fire sprinkler law went into effect and then reversed within 24 hours. The original post was written in February, and we wrote a follow up article on it last week. Find out why the fire sprinkler rule will never be enforced.
A washer for surgical equipment caught fire, and was immediately put out when a fire sprinkler activated. The heating element in the washer malfunctioned and overheated. We wrote a follow up article showcasing the top causes for hospital fires.