NIST Collects Info from Charleston Blaze

Investigators from NIST are collecting data from the deadly fire scene in the event that an analysis is conducted.CHARLESTON -- Investigators from NIST are collecting data from the deadly fire scene in the event that an analysis is conducted.Researchers...


Investigators from NIST are collecting data from the deadly fire scene in the event that an analysis is conducted.

CHARLESTON -- Investigators from NIST are collecting data from the deadly fire scene in the event that an analysis is conducted.

Researchers worked side-by-side with ATF and other investigators. However, no concrete decision has been made whether NIST will be conducting a technical probe, said Bill Grosshandler, chief of the fire research division.

"We're still in a fact finding stage. But, we're very interested in what happened there," he said, adding that a NIST team was in Charleston within 24 hours.

NIST has conducted previous studies into structure collapses in its attempt to improve safety in buildings and reduce fire losses.

Specifically, Grosshandler said NIST is interested in three major aspects. They include how the building responded during the blaze, the rate of the fire spread and what role the upholstery played in it. Researchers also may examine firefighter communications during the incident to determine awareness of the pending danger.

"There are many things that are of technical interest to us. But, there has been no decision yet whether there will be a formal review.

NIST has more than 30 years of experience investigating building fire and structural failures. It is not a regulatory agency and does not issue building standards or codes, according to published documents.

Engineers conducted probes following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. They also recently concluded an investigation into the deadly Rhode Island Nightclub Blaze, and presented its findings at the annual NFPA conference in Boston.

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