Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS)
PARTICULARS OF THE INCIDENT:
A fire in a renovated taxpayer extended from the original store and ignited the overhang and front exterior wall of the building. Both the overhang and the exterior wall were coated with Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS).
EIFS is a building product that covers exterior walls with an insulating and waterproofing finish. The exterior surface looks like stucco. The prime component of EIFS is expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) – Styrofoam.
In a matter of seconds, the fire extended to the exterior and spread quickly down the row of stores. The entire 250' frontage and overhang suddenly erupted in flames. Heat from the fire caused the EPS to liquefy and ignite, raining fire down from the overhang. Quick actions by the first due units kept the fire from extending into the adjoining stores.
LESSONS LEARNED OR REINFORCED:
1. Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS) can be found in all areas of the city, on any type of building.
2. EIFS is being used more frequently by builders because it saves space inside the building by putting the insulation on the outside of the building.
3. Decisive action is required to position hoselines and get a quick knockdown.
4. A charged hoseline should be stretched to cover the entire building frontage.
5. It is important to have a back-up charged hoseline ready to operate to protect members and prevent rapid fire spread.
6. All members must maintain situational awareness, these fires spread very quickly.