It always seems we are ill prepared for high rise fires.
The fire truck ladders can only reach so high and the internal sprinklers can only reach certain areas.
Much of our standards depend on people saving themselves through evacuation:
Exactly my thoughts.
I don't get it. From what I have heard, there were no active sprinklers or alarms, though I'm not sure if that means they didn't exist or weren't working. I'm not sure the age of the building, but anything less than 20 years old should be sprinklered.
This shouldn't happen in a developed country.
Early edits on Wikipedia can sometimes be unreliable, but there's a lot of talk there about long-standing issues with fire safety violations by the building administration.
My understanding of the code is that all high-rise buildings in the USA are required to have sprinklers, by retrofit if necessary if they are older than about 30 years due to some high profile fatal fires in the 1980s.
The One Meridian fire in Philly in 1991 showed the spectacular ability of a small number of heads to stop a fire:
The building had been built in 1972 and was partially retrofitted by the time of the fire.
There is speculation that the building's cladding ignited and contributed to the fire's spread.
Yeah, I haven't found any mention of sprinklers yet (strangely), but there is this about the cladding from CNN:
The Atlantic magazine did a story on the Grenfell Tower and conditions that contributed to the fire.
The Grenfell Tower Fire and London's Public-Housing Crisis, Toby Melville / Reuters
One resident has apparently claimed his refrigerator exploded leading to the fire.
Well clearly, the required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards are inadequate, or the work was somehow deficient.
From the reports I read they weren't installed because of cost! Those people need to be tried for manslaughter!
Its not so much height as fire area sq ft now. Most any commercial building over 1000 sq ft, especially retail businesses, have a sprinkler requirement in my area, regardless of height. Any building over 5K sq ft regardless of use with an occupant load over 100 requires sprinklers.
There are no regulations in the UK that say that you need to have a sprinkler system installed so I don't see how there could be a legal case; the regulations that require a sprinkler system in tall building were only introduced in 2007 and were not retroactive, meaning many (I suspect most) tall buildings older than that won't have a sprinkler system installed.
There are LOTS of old buildings in the UK and retrofitting sprinkler systems is often extremely difficult our even impossible (as opposed to just costly) so it is not surprising that the law was not retroactive.
There is an ongoing criminal investigation but so far no one has -as far as I am aware- been able to pinpoint an actual violation of building regulations.
That's terrible. Thank you for the information. People shouldn't be allowed to live in those death traps, IMO.
It has been confirmed:
A potential contributing factor here is that due to anti-global warming and ozone depletion regulations, refrigerants are being/have been switched from compounds that aren't flammable to compounds that are highly flammable (such as propane).
Apparently, the police are consider manslaughter charges in the Grenfell Tower fire.
"Cladding on 34 tower blocks in 17 council areas in England has failed fire safety tests, the government says."
That is VERY misleadingly stated. Suppose it was 34 failed out of 7,000 tested? You see how your statement doesn't do justice to the facts? In actuality it was 34 failed out of 34 tested.
everybody has jumped on the paneling
seems to me we should question the foam behind it
from the NYT article(crude annotations mine)
If you build a chamber with one side heatproof, ie ceramic like a concrete wall
and the other side a heat reflector like the aluminum panel
then stuff it with fuel like that insulating foam against the concrete wall
and provide for forced draft of air, in this case convection over a lot of vertical height
you have built yourself a blast furnace or maybe a gigantic blowtorch.
If that foam adjacent the concrete wall is flammable,
i suspect those panels would have melted even if they were solid steel.
That they fell, probably aflame from their polyurethane sandwich, does not surprise me. Probably their support brackets failed from the heat.
But i bet it was spectacular . Are there reports of a tornado like roar?
If anybody hears what was that foam , post a link to it?
Here's one to the panels. They meet ASTM E84.
How about the foam behind them ? Looks to me like that was the culprit.
It's a personal theory , just putting it out for consideration. We must await details.
If mentors want to delete as 'personal theory against guidelines' there's no hard feelings.
@jim hardy : Celotex RS5000
Looks like both components, insulation and panels, meet the ASTM E84 standard tests. Polysilo says it's 'resistant' up to 390F.
This is how codes and standards evolve as industry learns from its mistakes.
This one will teach standards organizations to test for "Chimney Effect" .
Thanks Nidum !
Whoever wrote the wiki entry on "fire risks" of "polyisocyanurate." seems to concur with your personal theory.
On 14 June 2017 the block of flats, within 15 minutes, was enveloped in flames from the fourth floor to the top 24th floor. The causes of the rapid spread of fire up the outside of the building have yet to be established. It should be noted that flames can occupy the cavity between the insulation material and the cladding, and be drawn upwards by convection, elongating to create secondary fires, and do so "regardless of the materials used to line the cavities".
As do I.
The wiki article references the following as a source for the bolded section:
Probyn Miers (January 2016). "Fire Risks From External Cladding Panels – A Perspective From The UK". section 3.3.2.
Probyn Miers seems to be a legitimate firm.
this is only a newspaper account
Why did they add insulation to the outside of the buildings? Some building efficiency mandate?
That would be my guess, standards are getting more demanding and the only way for the old buildings to meet them is to add additional layer of insulation.
Many of these old buildings (note -however- that they are not ACTUALLY old, at least not compared to the Georgian and Victorian houses around them) have little or no insulation. This was not so much of an issue when they were built since energy prices (north sea gas and oil) were lower, CO2 emissions were not an issue and people just accepted that houses were cold, damp and draughty (houses in England -irrespective of age- are generally badly built in terms of the inside environment compared to the rest of Europe).
Due to the way the houses are built insulating on the outside can be a good option; it is not necessarily cheaper but it does not use up space inside the flats (which are already quite small).
(I used to live in a council owned flat not far from where the fire was, in a house of a similar age)
Apparently there are more expensive units across the way.
Would there be any information available as to the age of these units ( buildings ), how they are insulated, if extra cladding was added on after the building was put up, and if so, what type.
Not necessarily as a comparison between rich/poor, but even at other areas of comparable financial strength, perhaps looking at the range of value the different landlords/agency placed upon their holdings, and what could be achievable based on cost of upgrades, and return on expenditure.
It just seems odd that the whole building, and I would imagine several others were, was clad from bottom to top with the product in question, even though the manufacturer/supplier recommends only as far up as a fireman's ladder would reach.
Probably the information would not be easily accessible - there may be no comprehensive data at all yet.
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