21.04.2021

I never knew about fire doors until these images

Fire marshall/AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) Scott Strassburg recently shared a series of scary, eye-opening, photos that illustrate the importance of having fire doors (and appropriate hardware) installed in multi-family residential buildings.

The following images were sent via iDigHardware. The fire was a result of a cooking fire that reached the wood cabinets and spread from there…

“As the tenant escaped from the apartment where the fire began, the door between the apartment and the corridor was left open, allowing the fire to spread into the corridor.

At the ends of the corridor, there were two fire doors – one leading to a stairwell (very close to the apartment where the fire originated) and one that was a horizontal exit leading to more apartments. These doors were both closed and latched, and prevented the fire from compromising the egress routes from other floors.”

Horizontal exit from the non-fire side:

Looking through horizontal exit to corridor:

A closer look at the damage.

Non-fire side of the stair door

Looking down the charred corridor

A short Backdraft GIF interlude, just because…and now back to the story…

The apartments which opened onto this corridor were directly affected by the position of the entrance doors – when doors were left open during the evacuation and subsequent firefighting efforts, the fire was able to spread into the apartment causing unrepairable damage. When doors were closed and latched, the apartment suffered far less damage.

If building occupants were trapped behind these closed doors, the doors would’ve offered a buffer of protection from the smoke and flames – this is very important since the exit route from these apartments was not usable.

This door was left open:

The fire doors to these two apartments were closed

The fire doors to these two apartments were closed

Fire door assembly inspections would go a long way toward improving the safety of multi-family residential buildings, where fires are not uncommon and fire doors may be modified or compromised by tenants, visitors, or maintenance personnel.

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle, as a wise man once said.

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