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Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9
4

Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

(OP)
News 4 New York City December 17, 2021 10:05 pm
FDNY: Deadly Apartment Fire Caused by E-Bike Batteries
Event was DEC 16 2021


The cause of Thursday’s apartment building fire has been linked to lithium batteries from an electric bike. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst reports.


East 181st, (Bronx) NYC. 11 AM Jan 9, The toll 19 dead, 60 injured. Initial reports said the fire was on the third floor of the 19-story building. The 120-unit building in the Twin Parks North West complex was built in 1973. A sprinkler system is not installed.

Investigators are trying to determine why safety doors failed to close in a New York City high-rise when a deadly fire broke out.

If the LiIon battery in bicycles theory holds up in the investigation, now we have a serious contender with LiIon car battery fires, with a higher likelyhood of storage in living spaces.

Moon161 is correct these two events are separate but as both contain situations which engineering can be improved, I am going to leave this thread up to see what develops.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Not that I didn't get a LiFePO4 battery for my scooter instead of a Lithium Ion because of the rep for fires, but you're conflating two different fires, and the last one was traced (apparently by witnesses) to a space heater instead of bike batteries, per the article that you linked.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

And made worse by a door that was supposed to be closed, but was open.

Lets see, affordable housing, a fire door to be kept closed, a space heater (likely because the normal heat did not work well), and someone moving in (I made that up), so they blocked the fire door open.
Sounds likely, and could happen in most affordable housing in the US.

What lessons will be learned out of this? (I expect none).

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

So a space heater malfunctioned and generated huge quantities of smoke.

I wonder why this space heater was made using a substance that would do that. Since most/all metals won't, I am left with plastics. Why would that much plastic be used in making a space heater?



spsalso

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Maybe the space heater was used to heat the battery on the bike?

Hydrogen flouride is a byproduct of burning lithium batteries. That would explain why the smoke was so deadly.

An interesting thought on what really is "smoke inhalation". We all breath smoke sitting around the camp fire and it causes no immediate damages. I think with smoke inhalation in general the damage done by breathing super hot air, smokey or not. It sounds as if the fire was relatively contained and there weren't burn victims in the hallways, only victims in respiratory/cardiac arrest. I think that would point towards the presence of a more toxic or acid gas.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (spalso)

Why would that much plastic be used in making a space heater?

I mean.. I suspect that in 202X you would be hard pressed to buy a space heater in the United States that isn't majority plastic by volume.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Are these residents required to practice evacuation drills? Maybe that needs to be a regular practice for residents of high rise buildings. They make cruise ship passengers do it.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Plastic space heaters?

Looked on Amazon, and there they (appeared) to be, judging by the swooping curves of some of them.

But, no, not "hard pressed" to find metal ones. They're there, too. The last one I bought, when I lived in a tiny little shack, was one of those 1500W 6" sheet metal cubes. Worked great!

Well then. It surely is interesting to find what appear to be "flammable" space heaters (a small version of those famous London towers).

Hmmmm. Lawsuits or criminal charges. Hmmm....


spsalso

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (cranky108)

so they blocked the fire door open.
Sounds likely, and could happen in most affordable housing in the US.

There is widespread reporting of investigators flagging malfunctioning fire doors as a potential factor.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/01...

Quote (USA Today)

New York City inspectors had cited the building at least five times for issues with its self-closing doors between 2013 and 2019, according to a Department of Housing Preservation and Development database. Four were at apartments and one was at the stairwell on the third floor, and all were corrected, the records show.

A complaint related to a self-closing door was also listed on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development website as recently as last month.

From what I understand these doors and their mechanisms are finnicky and a constant maintenance issue. I don't know too much about them, but I feel like there is probably room for some engineering to improve reliability here.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

2
Are the complaints publicly available? I would bet money that the complaints filed and corrected are for people blocking the doors open or disconnecting the closer arms.

There are two common types:

A) A normal fire door with a standard closer which is not ever permitted to be blocked open for any reason. These are typically located on exterior walls, stairwell entrance/exits, and in major thoroughfares, and as such are blocked open constantly. These are the door type on 99% of stairwell doors in the US; in high rise housing I would be people get tired of having to open them with handfulls of shit when they're bringing home groceries or whatever, so they disconnect the closer arm (which takes about 10 seconds with a screwdriver for most types) and render the self-closing function of the door inoperable.

B) A fire door which is, by design, open all the time but has a hydraulic closer and an electric hold-open mounted to the wall. This is an electromagnet mounted to the wall which works with a bracket on the door leaf to hold the door open. Any power failure or trip of the fire alarm depowers the magnet and the closer pulls the door shut. These are by definition on a fire alarm circuit, using fire alarm electrical components. These are extremely reliable. Very common in hospitals.

Type A is mechanically very reliable, but people CONSTANTLY block them open. If an inspector finds a fire or smoke barrier door blocked open, the owner or occupant of the building is getting cited every time, even if it's with a door stop that is instantly removed during the inspection.

Type B is almost never blocked open (because they're open all the time by design) but are typically very, very reliable. In hospital settings they are tested yearly; I've installed dozens and dozens of them, and never had a failure even on doors more than a decade old, with zero maintenance.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

(OP)
Moon161 pointed out I had intertwined two separate incidents. The initial post and title have been corrected.

You can inspect current violations for both buildings here HPD Building, Registration & Violation
The address for the most recent fire (the one with fire door problems) is 333 EAST 181 STREET, Bronx 10457

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

SwinnyGG,

Thanks for the door discussion. I kinda sorta knew that, but your clear writing did a great job of pulling it together.


spsalso

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Great explainer. Thank you. I confess I’m mostly ignorant on the subject. I’ve just heard anecdotes over the years on various projects where they were struggling to get the doors to shut due to seals or air pressure problems.

Maybe making the closer arm more tamper proof would be an improvement?

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Tamper "resistant". I like the second door. It eliminates the temptation to tamper all together.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Yeah, that second style is the way to go.

It is better to go WITH people's natural behavior, instead of trying to fight it. Nobody wants a stupid door that slams them on the butt every time they go through it. They're just naturally going to try to fix THAT problem.


spsalso

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (bones206)

Maybe making the closer arm more tamper proof would be an improvement?

Tamper-resistant versions of most closers are available (they basically just replace all the fasteners with like-for-like tamper-resistant) but so few people buy them that for the largest manufacturer in the US they don't even appear in the catalog, you just have to know they exist and ask for them.

Quote (spalso)

Yeah, that second style is the way to go.

The problem with the mag hold-open door is that they're open 24/7 unless there s a power or alarm trip.

You likely wouldn't want to live in an apartment building or stay in a hotel where the doors to the stairwell were always open on every single floor; it'd be quite the noise complaint generator.

Quote (Bones206)

I’ve just heard anecdotes over the years on various projects where they were struggling to get the doors to shut due to seals or air pressure problems.

Without a doubt, this can be an issue - depending on occupancy, a lot of the time stairwells are under positive pressure; making sure the doors function properly takes some attention to detail (ie you need to spec the correct door hardware) and if HVAC balancing isn't done in a precise way, doors that don't close can be one of the symptoms.

I could be wrong but that doesn't sound like the case here; two doors which were not-quite-closed would typically not create nearly enough pressure loss for the stairwell to go negative and get pumped full of smoke. Two doors blocked 100% open would do it pretty easily though, which is where my suspicion comes from.

The website above gives me an error when I try to search that address for previous complaints, so I can't find out if I've speculated correctly.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Usually it's charging gone-wrong not just a battery pack sitting around.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Some more reporting:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/11/nyregion/deadly...

Quote (NY Times)

The mayor, in only his second week on the job, said officials would “double down” on efforts to raise awareness about the importance of closing doors during a fire. The building’s residents did not shut the door behind them as they ran from the apartment. The door had a self-closing mechanism, as required by the city, but it malfunctioned.

Fire Department investigators tested most of the doors in the building in the course of their investigation on Sunday, a fire official said, and most were found to have automatically closed properly. But the door at the apartment where the fire started — and doors at a handful of other units — did not close as designed, the official said.

The building’s owners said in an email that all of the doors were self-closing, as required. Maintenance staff members repaired a lock on the door where the fire started in July, and at the time, “the self-closing mechanism” was checked and found to operate properly, they said.



RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

From the Intercept:

https://theintercept.com/2022/01/11/bronx-fire-hou...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (dik's article)

The Bronx fire was not only a tragedy, but also an injustice, suffered by predominantly poor, working-class, African immigrant families living on Section 8 vouchers, a form of government rental assistance for low-income people. This injustice highlights the need — made ever clearer during the Covid-19 pandemic — to drastically shift power over housing stock away from landlords and investors and into the hands of tenants.

Wut?

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

It was an interesting 'take'... When this can happen, there's something wrong. One thing is 'too little' value on human life.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Yea, that's definitely more of a sociological question. I can sort of see an analogy to the public utility debate: the idea that publicly-owned utilities would invest more profits back into the infrastructure rather than siphon them off in the form of exorbitant compensation for executives. I see the logic behind the theory, but the practical implementation is a whole other story. As illustrated by the Miami condo collapse, asking an ever-changing band of owner-volunteers to manage a large facility is challenging in the best of times.

I just come back to the idea that engineers could come up with an improved fire door widget to take the human element out of the equation. Then make the building codes adopt the new widget as a minimum standard to force the landlords to implement them. It's capitalism - nobody is gonna spend one more dollar than they are forced to.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (TugboatEng)

Does anybody really think a bunch of section 8 tenants would be able to manage and maintain and high-rise apartment building?
I know, right? 'cause Section 8 automatically means the person is a moron with no skills. Thank God we have all of those intelligent and useful non-Section 8 folk to guide them. noevil

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (TugboatEng)

It's not a take, it's an attempt at politicization.

Multibillion dollar slumlords maintaining buildings in such a condition that residents have to rely on boiling pots of water, ovens, and space heaters to stay warm is not a take or politicization. It’s just what it is.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Sorry tug... it's an observation only.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

A high rise apartment building is a lot like a ship except the apartment building is packed full of flammable furnishings and other materials. Everybody on the ship is required to have standard competencies. Everybody on the ship is required to participate in regular fire and evacuation drills.

Perhaps we should be utilizing this tragic event to push for education for highrise tenants and not to push a communist agenda.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Life safety is not political... sorry tug.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (TugboatEng)

A high rise apartment building is a lot like a ship

Great! Let’s play out the analogy. A multibillion dollar corporation owns a fleet of unseaworthy vessels (the poorly maintained or inadequate buildings). The crew (the residents) are required to have competencies and participate in drills you say. On a ship, who is responsible to see that that happens? The Captain you say? Who hires the Captain?

Surely the owner and Captain work diligently to provide the crew training materials. Do you happen to have a link to them? How about the ship’s log? All of this stuff should be readily available.

‘Course there’s never been a case of an owner hazarding a vessel, skimping on maintenance, or pressuring a captain to skirt regulations, thereby sending a competent well trained crew to Davy Jones’ Locker either. Nope. I can’t think of that ever happening.

Great example flush

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Are you saying that it's a bad idea to have a fire drill for residents of a high rise apartment building? Maybe teach the residents where the fire doors are in the building? Explain that in the event of a fire the doors should be closed and if one is found open to close it?

There are also behaviors that might not be known to the general public to escape a burning building. One example is to make your way out while laying on your stomach and to always have a hand or foot touching a wall. It's much cooler on the floor and touching the wall prevents disorientation.

Also, don't use the fire hose to spray water in an occupied space. And CO2 extinguishers can't put out class A fires once they get going (no cooling effect).

Touch the door knob before opening the door. If it's hot don't open.

These are examples of things the general public should know but likely doesn't.

Spartan, fires happen on ships all of the time. It's exceedingly rare for a fire to result in mass casualties on a ship. The fires often burn through the ships due to poorly maintained or inadequate control systems. However, the crew is usually able to escape.

Education is cheap and doesn't fall in to disrepair as quickly.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (TugboatEng)

Are you saying that it's a bad idea to have a fire drill for residents of a high rise apartment building? Maybe teach the residents where the fire doors are in the building? Explain that in the event of a fire the doors should be closed and if one is found open to close it?

Nope. I’m saying that implementation of those practices are the responsibility of the owner and/or owner’s agent (Captain AKA The Super).

But we’ve already established the owner isn’t even interested in investing resources in basic essentials. Like adequate heating.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Why do common sense and systemic problems have to be political, of late? When they are not processed, the problem is systemic, but a problem, nonetheless.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

A big question is, would people want to live in highrise buildings if they had to do regular drills for safety?

I think the answer to that would be a resounding no! So, instead of looking for real solutions, let's push Marxism instead.

I'm sorry, that article you linked was pure insanity. They even call themselves "activist journalists".

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Sorry Tug... I just thought it was an interesting take, and it really has nothing to do with politics or Marxism. Think of it as having to take a driving test, no Marxism, either, and much being safer. If they have to have semi-annual fire drills, not too bad an idea if it saves lives. People have to learn that they have to be inconvienienced sometimes.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

So the building owner has fire drills.

Only a fraction of the residents show up to participate.

The owner has another, and even fewer show up to participate.

At some point, no one shows up to participate. The owner keeps records of this, and ceases having fire drills, since it's been recorded that no one shows up.


That's a wrap, folks!


Perhaps owner should bring pizzas and call it "tenant appreciation day". You get your pizza if you participate. And you have to sit and eat as a group and discuss the fire drill. The owner must be there.

Actually kinda sounds like fun!



spsalso

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (TugboatEng)

A big question is, would people want to live in highrise buildings if they had to do regular drills for safety?

I mean, they lived there without adequate heat. Right?

Were there even optional drills? Instructions? Regular announcements? Informative videos in multiple languages? Educational materials? Anything?

What did the multibillion dollar slumlords even attempt to provide? Certainly not adequate heat.

But keeping beating that straw man you’re building. Or maybe you agree that it is the owner’s responsibility to provide those things? Which is it?

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

This is one of the few times that I think legislation is an answer. If the building has fire doors, elevators, and/or dedicated fire escapes, it should be law that the occupants of the building get some level of familiarization of these systems in an emergency. One person closing a door could have saved many lives. Yes, an engineer can design a better door but how do we grandfather that in to older buildings? How do we implement expensive rules without stifling new construction?

As for the people that don't attend? Raise their rent until they do. That's no different than increasing health insurance premiums on the unvaxxed.

I took a 4 day firefighting course that consisted of 2 days of classroom, 1 day of search and rescue, and 1 day of live burn. That course was fantastically informative. There is so much simple material the general public doesn't know about surviving fire.

Otherwise, are you saying section 8 tenants are too dumb to learn some basic life safety skills? It's sad when people grow up in bad neighborhoods, go to bad schools, and live in bad housing and there is zero interest to teach them anything life skills related. Just let them continue in the same pattern that continues to fail them but with a little more protection offered from their overlords.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (tugboat)

One person closing a door could have saved many lives.

Self-closing doors exist in the first place because educating people to keep doors shut does not work.

This was a tragedy, but 'tell everyone they have to shut their door all the time' is not a real solution.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Gosh darn, put your politics aside for a second. A self closing design is ideal but educating the residents to close the damned door makes it more reliable.

And, if we transfer the ownership to the residents as dik's article described do you think they would not require similar education or would they be able to protect themselves without the burden of capitalism over their heads?

Y'all picked a weird hill to stand on.

Swinny, this isn't targeted at you but a few other users here are being oddly hostile and I may be riled up.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Education is always beneficial but I don’t think that it’s a realistic expectation for hundreds of millions of people to all become competent in fire safety through training and education.

Human factors engineering means meeting people where they are at- in reality - not in an idealized version of reality. One of the actual realities of these tenant’s lives was constant fire alarms occurring to the point they were conditioned not to act when they heard one. That has to be considered a systemic failure because nobody should be subject to a reality that conditions them to ignore fire alarms.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

I think we should drop this part of the thread.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Sorry Dik. I’m not trying to agitate the discussion. I just think an improved engineered solution is possible. But before you can solve a problem you must start with a sober assessment of the realities of the problem. I’m not trying to diminish the importance of individual responsibility in educating oneself to the dangers around you, that Tugboat was emphasizing. But I’m not sure how that would help anyone who is 19 stories up when the fire door doesn’t close in a fire. I think as engineers we could do something to protect people more reliably.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

concur, but someone thinks this is an affront to freedom and is political. Nothing to be sorry for.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Odd, I've had about a dozen employers over the last 20 years and eliminating headcounts <10 and gigs <1 year, most of them had an annual fire drill that nobody beefed about, usually a sunny day in october with everybody standing in the parking lot or the building atrium. Similarly, nobody seems to mind 20 minutes a month for safety training, knowing where the AED's and fire extinguishers are. Nobody has vocally hated on the man or the mob to me about this enforced exercise in self and collective preservation.

Edit, and with this, I find a non-technical point of agreement with tugboat, something unusual. I've worked in giant bank-eating banks and militantly unionized shops, nobody seems to mind learning the way out in a fire, or that you give the yellow fire extinguisher on the burning titanium before you run away. Whether it's to reduce insurance rates or build the worker's paradise, it still makes sense.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

What if you had an unannounced fire drill every day? After how long would it have the opposite effect and desensitize people? That’s the reality of what people were living with in this tower. At least that’s what’s been reported in the media.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

The last company I worked for had one or two unannounced drills a year, complete with a muster point. It was a regular office space... not industrial, or whatever. You saved your work and 'logged off' (generally didn't), and took off.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Yes, I've been the angry guy in a disfunctional system, and about disfunctional systems. In both cases it just hurt too much and changed too little. Lacking the charisma of el Che, I adapt.

I do think there's a big political aspect to this, politics is just human organization, how and why and the related differences, conflicts and resolutions. That goes to how well or how poorly facilities are maintained, prevalence and conditions of poverty, and so on.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Drop the politics...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

2
Signage, pamphlets, videos, meetings, announcements, functional self-closing doors, adequate heat, and regular drills all would contribute to better outcomes than the one that resulted from the lack of those things.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

I've stayed away from advocating an ideal form which is I think the basis of most political arguments, and think that fire burns everyone regardless of what their preferred form of organization is.

However I think this question is tied to how and whether or not people organize functionally and effectively, aka politics. In the end the occupants are not rivets that will march out of the bowl when you turn the agitator on, they are both much better and much worse, depending. edit- and they all should be safe.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

It can be organised by the building superintendant, with people signing in after they left the building. A form letter can be delivered to those not in attendance. This may have an impact on insurance and/or insurance claims. Same with open doors... tenants can close them, or advise the superintendant that they are open. No rocket science here, folks.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

This may be a stupid observation, but, the building likely would not be so cold if the outside fire doors were kept closed.
I don't know which door were left open, but I have seen this happen in dorms years ago.

The office building that I work in required a badge in, to the security knows who is in and who is out, so at fire drills they can account for everyone. This likely would not work in an apartment complex.

But from the first account there likely was no security, so this would not fall under a guard to check.

Maybe the best solution is one of each type of doors. The outside door being a self closing door, with an inner door that is normal open, and closes for a fire, or power failure.
This would not solve the problem with the building being cold, but if it was a back door, the addition of an air door, or heavy plastic door (the drape type, with open pleats, so someone can walk through.
Use cameras to photo people damaging equipment (not security).

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Not rocket science perhaps... but you're talking about marshalling and training hundreds of people.

When do you do a fire drill in this building which ensures that everyone is home?

If you pin a flyer to every door in the building, how many of them are going to get thoroughly read and understood as opposed to thrown directly in the garbage?

After people are 'trained', how many of them are going to diligently make sure their front door is closed 24 hours a day for years on end?

Is the guy who was possibly already blocking open the door marked 'emergency exit' going to stop blocking the door open when he brings home groceries or laundry?

'Just teach them a little fire safety and everything is solved' is an absolute pipe dream.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (SwinnyGG)

'Just teach them a little fire safety and everything is solved' is an absolute pipe dream.
It’s also a straw man. I don’t see anyone saying that.

We are talking more along the lines of ‘just teach them any fire safety and some hazards may be mitigated.’

As for doors, there are ways to tell when doors are open, aren’t there? Passive and active. Even if just a daily inspection by the superintendent who notes any issues and works to remedy them.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Tie the drill to their rent. No attendance = more rent.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

This is a section 8 building. Any 'more rent' would be paid by the government, not by the tenant.

Adding door monitoring to a high rise apartment building with no in-place door security system is a multi-million dollar endeavor which involves renovating the entire building.

'Daily inspection by the superintendent' of every single door in the building? Good luck with that.

I don't think y'all are considering this problem in a way that is realistic.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

I think the facts of what happened are being warped or swept aside. From the reporting that I've read:

1) The doors were not left open. They failed to close behind the first group of people fleeing the fire.

2) The units were not freezing because of fire doors left open. (See #1 above). They were freezing because of chronically malfunctioning or nonfunctioning heating systems. The unit that the fire started in had a space heater going in three different rooms.

3) Subsequent investigation after the fire found other doors in the building that did not self close. So it wasn't an isolated case of one door malfunctioning.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Yeah, thats sad about the doors, and would stick out on a fmea as a potentially critical failure. Training would be one mitigator, assuming it could be closed and it wasnt jammed open.

Me pointing out that a crate jamming a door closer, or an overfilled rag bucket to the shop supervisor, or checking my area for incapacitated people when the fire alarm goes off is prosaic but potentially life saving. I like to think I would pull the wedge stopping a fire door as I went by, but its not rocket surgery. If one in ten in a safety meeting gets it, its useful.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (moon161)

I like to think I would pull the wedge stopping a fire door as I went by, but its not rocket surgery.

I would be impressed if you could accurately identify the fire doors in your building without looking at a drawing first.

Most people, including most engineers, aren't aware that such a thing as internal fire or fire/smoke barrier exists.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Swinny - what's your take on intumescent expanding door seals? I basically just googled "smoke door expanding seal" and saw these:
https://content.assaabloyusa.com/doc/AADSS1051285&...

Seems like it could be another layer of protection to install at the entry doors of all units in a highrise. Are these commonly used or more for specialty applications?

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Generally not too difficult. Doors exiting the building and those leading to stair shafts, for the most part. Doors for mechanical and electrical rooms, and doors entering a parkade.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Yup. In addition:

1. Drawings have to be posted so people know the way out of a building anyways.
2. Steel or heavy wood doors to stairs, exits, section boundaries, refuges and critical rooms, on self closers, possibly on electro magnetic holders, possibly with a crash bar. They stick out compared to veneer or vinyl over paper or foam core doors to an office or closet.

Letting people know that doors can stop smoke and fire if they're closed, especially the heavy ones is one or two slides on a fire safety powerpoint. It helps to get through to everyone, but getting through to one can make a difference.

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

In these environs, there's a label on the hinge side that gives the rating.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Two Apartment Fires, NYC Dec 16 and, NYC, 11 AM Jan 9

Quote (bones206)

Seems like it could be another layer of protection to install at the entry doors of all units in a highrise. Are these commonly used or more for specialty applications?

Intumescent seals are extremely common. The most common usage is in place of standard smoke seal on a wood fire door. Wood doors don't expand appreciably when they got hot, so they won't seal to the jamb the way a steel door will. You will still see intumescent seals on steel doors depending on jurisdiction. Typically the presence of an intumescent seal is an indication that a door opening is a rated fire/smoke assembly, although sometimes they are on fire assemblies too.

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