Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NIST releases final report on Charleston sofa store fire

Date:
March 16, 2011
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has released its final report on its study of the June 18, 2007, fire at Sofa Super Store in Charleston, S.C., that trapped and killed nine firefighters.

NIST researcher photographing the remains of the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, S.C., on June 19, 2007, the day after the fire that killed nine firefighters.
Credit: NIST Engineering Lab

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released its final report on its study of the June 18, 2007, fire at the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, S.C., that trapped and killed nine firefighters, the highest number of firefighter deaths in a single event since 9/11. The final report is strengthened by clarifications and supplemental text based on comments provided by organizations and individuals in response to the draft report of the study, released for public comment on Oct. 28, 2010.

The revisions did not alter the study team's main finding: the major factors contributing to the rapid spread of the fire at the Sofa Super Store were large open spaces with furniture providing high-fuel loads, the inward rush of air following the breaking of windows, and a lack of sprinklers.

Based on its findings, the study team made 11 recommendations for enhancing building, occupant and firefighter safety nationwide. In particular, the team urged state and local communities to adopt and strictly adhere to current national model building and fire safety codes. These codes are used as models for building and fire regulations promulgated and enforced by U.S. state and local jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions have the option of incorporating some or all of the code's provisions but often adopt most provisions.

If today's model codes had been in place and rigorously followed in Charleston in 2007, the study authors said, the conditions that led to the rapid fire spread in the Sofa Super Store probably would have been prevented.

Specifically, the NIST report calls for national model building and fire codes to require sprinklers for all new commercial retail furniture stores regardless of size, and for existing retail furniture stores with any single display area of greater than 190 square meters (2,000 square feet). Other recommendations include adopting model codes that cover high fuel load situations (such as a furniture store), ensuring proper fire inspections and building plan examinations, and encouraging research for a better understanding of fire situations such as venting of smoke from burning buildings and the spread of fire on furniture.

Two of the recommendations in the draft report were slightly modified to increase their effectiveness. The recommendation "that all state and local jurisdictions ensure that fire inspectors and building plan examiners are professionally qualified to a national standard" was improved by listing three nationally accepted certification examinations as examples of "how professional qualification may be demonstrated." Another recommendation has been enhanced by urging state and local jurisdictions to "provide education to firefighters on the science of fire behavior in vented and non-vented structures and how the addition of air can impact the burning characteristics of the fuel."

NIST is working with various public and private groups toward implementing changes to practices, standards, and building and fire codes based on the findings from this study.

The complete text of the final report, Volumes I and II,* may be downloaded as Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files. For a detailed summary of the Sofa Super Store study, its findings and recommendations, and links to supporting materials such as graphics and video segments from computer simulations of the fire, go to "NIST Study on Charleston Furniture Store Fire Calls for National Safety Improvements" at www.nist.gov/el/fire_research/charleston_102810.cfm.

* Volume I: http://www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=908200, Volume II: http://www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=908201.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "NIST releases final report on Charleston sofa store fire." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316153127.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2011, March 16). NIST releases final report on Charleston sofa store fire. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316153127.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "NIST releases final report on Charleston sofa store fire." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316153127.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins