Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sprinklers save life of NH man smoking on oxygen tank

Man engulfed in flames after his portable medical oxygen tank ignited when he apparently fell asleep drinking and smoking

By Kathryn Marchocki
The Union Leader 
LACONIA, N.H. — The Laconia man engulfed in flames when his portable medical oxygen tank ignited when he apparently fell asleep drinking and smoking remains in a Boston hospital Sunday with second- and possibly third-degree burns, the fire chief said.
The 57-year-old man's wounds do not appear to be life threatening, but it is difficult to assess a burn victim's condition because they can suffer complications, Fire Chief Kenneth Erickson said.
The man appears to have been intoxicated when he fell asleep in a cushioned recliner inside his 6 Jameson St. apartment about 3:20 p.m. Saturday, the chief said. Firefighters also believe he was smoking.
The chief said he does not know the name of the fire victim, who lives in one of three one-story units at the Millview Apartments complex.
Flames consumed the back of the chair where the man sat and scorched the ceiling above him, Erickson said. Smoke detectors went off, but didn't him wake up, he said. The automatic sprinkler system then went off and appeared to have wakened the man.
"I would say the sprinklers definitely saved his life. The smoke alarms, even though it was going off, it was not getting through to him," Erickson said.
The sprinkler also kept the fire contained to the apartment.
Primary cause of the fire is misuse of medical oxygen materials, Erickson said.
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Monday, January 30, 2012

No Sprinklers at Site of Latest High-Rise Fire

Park Towers is one of over a thousand pre-1975 high rises that aren't required to have sprinklers

By Phil Rogers
|  Monday, Jan 30, 2012  |  Updated 4:48 PM CST
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No Sprinklers at Site of Latest High-Rise Fire
An Edgewater high rise apartment building which was the site of a weekend fire was also the site of a fatal fire in April of 2010. It did not have sprinklers, and the city has approved a safety plan which will not require them in the future.
In that earlier fire, 44-year-old Leela Rani Choudary died when a fire began in the couch in her 38th floor apartment. It was believed the fire started from a candle burning in the apartment and the victim died from smoke inhalation.
At the time, investigators said the woman may have died before firefighters arrived because smoke detectors were not activated until the smoke seeped into the hallway. It took fire crews took about 40 minutes to control the fire, which started shortly after 4am.
In the latest fire in that building, the Park Tower Condominiums, two people were hospitalized after fire broke out in an apartment on the building’s 51st floor early Sunday morning. More than 100 firefighters responded.
Park Towers, at 5415 N. Sheridan Rd., is one of over a thousand pre-1975 high rises which fall under grandfathered provisions of the city’s controversial fire code. National fire officials have blasted Chicago’s code as inadequate, because it does not mandate sprinkler systems for older residential high rises.
In its latest inspection, the fire building was listed as "accepted with upgrades." That meant it did not comply with Chicago’s life safety evaluation ordinance, but would pass provided certain upgrades, slated for future work, were actually performed.
The building owners have promised to verify that all stairwell doors can withstand fire for one hour. They have also assured the city they will implement an enhanced communication system in the building, and were in the process of installing an automatic recall feature on elevators when the inspection was performed.
Those assurances were offered in October of 2009, and the city said if the owners made those improvements, the building would be in full compliance. But sprinklers were still not part of the plan.
Last month, the Chicago City Council gave building owners until 2015 to complete fire upgrades which had been mandated for 2012.

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/No-Sprinklers-in-Edgewater-High-Rise-138343264.html#ixzz1l0NG37GI

Update: Fire at Drake Hall with no sprinkler system

Updated: 6:49 PM Jan 30, 2012

No one was injured in the fire and security alarms worked like they were supposed to, but the building didn’t have a sprinkler system.
Posted: 4:08 PM Jan 30, 2012
Reporter: Alyssa Fenske 
Email Address: alyssa.fenske@weau.com
 Update: Fire at Drake Hall with no sprinkler system
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(WEAU) La Crosse- A fire in the basement of Drake Hall at UW-La Crosse set off smoke alarms at 4:23 a.m. Sunday morning.
Students had to be evacuated and relocated.
No one was injured in the fire and security alarms worked like they were supposed to, but the building didn’t have a sprinkler system.
Drake Hall Resident, Noelle Griffiths was stunned when she realized it wasn't a drill.
“It was weird, we saw orange flames coming out of the basement windows and it was just kind of hard to believe," said Griffiths.
The 1960’s era building has no sprinkler system, and neither does any of the other low rise dorms.
“It was an older building, and when it was constructed there were no sprinkler systems around. When State guidelines came out we didn't have to do the low rise buildings," Nick Nicklaus/ Director of Residential Life.
Sprinkler systems will be added to the Master Plan for renovating the residential halls over the next decade says Nicklaus.
“We are going to be doing master planning and bringing all the dorms up to speed. As we bring everything into the 21st century yes, we will be sprinkling all of our buildings," said Nicklaus.
Students from Drake Hall that didn’t have a friends place to stay last night ended up at Eagle Hall Basement.
Thave been provided with all the essentials such as showers, beds, toothbrushes, and deodorant.
They will have to stay at the Eagle Hall basement again tonight, and it's unsure how much longer.
“Originally we were hopeful that might be something fairly quick, but now it looks like its going to be longer than just several days,” said Nicklaus.
But students seem to be adapting well.
“The accommodations that they've set up for us are fantastic. It’s been considerably comfortable considering the circumstance. They've decorated the first hall and basement for us. Eagle Hall has been amazing,” said Jordan Goldberg, a Resident Advisor for Drake Hall.
Many students hope to get back to their beds as soon as possible.
“I think all of us have the itch to go back. We all love Drake Hall, but we have no idea what the time table is going to be," said Goldberg.
If it does end up being more than a couple days waiting for Drake Hall to become livable again, Nicklaus says they will be able to find rooms for everyone.
“I know we will be able to accommodate all of the residents, all 270 of them, somewhere,” said Nicklaus.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter can mean increased fire risk in homes

A list of fire safety tips.
Santa Cruz Sentinel
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An organization representing the fire sprinkler industry is reminding people of the dangers of fire during the winter months.
"With the increased use of fireplaces and home heating systems during the winter months, families need to take the proper precautions to prevent potentially dangerous fire situations," said John Viniello, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association. "We believe that if everyone takes a few moments to review fire safety techniques and protocols with their loved ones, lives will be saved and potential tragedies avoided."
The organization has issued a list of fire safety tips to keep people safe throughout the winter.
— Keep a watchful eye on space heaters, and make sure there is at least three feet of clear space around them when in operation. Do not leave a space heater on unattended.
— Keep flammable liquids free from heating sources, and store them in a cool location. Also, keep them separate from other stored items such as paper products and cloth materials.
— Check to make sure smoke detectors are working properly
— Keep an up-to-date list of emergency fire, police, and medical phone numbers near your telephone.
— Develop an escape plan with your family from multiple rooms within your home, both upstairs and downstairs. Take time to review the escape plan with your family, including a practice fire drill.
The fire sprinkler association also suggests installing residential fire sprinklers to protect people and property. More information about residential fire sprinklers can be found at www.nfsa.org.