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  1. #1
    Gary Bowker
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Rubber Tire Construction of Dwellings

    I am the Fire Marshal for a city in Kansas. I recently came across a situation that causes me great concern. We became aware of a new in-ground single family dwelling being constructed in our district that uses old rubber tires filled with dirt or sand, and then covered with a stucco or masonary finish. Apparently, this method of construction is gaining popularity on the west coast. Has anyone out there experienced a fire in one of these or have any helpful info. Please contact me. Thanks... Gary


  2. #2
    Firebrother
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    the only thing I ever seen that resembles what your speaking of was when I was in the Army. They had a house made of stacked tires filled with sand we used it for hand grenade training. Under normal conditions it was quite sturdy and designed to withstand numerous concussive blasts. But under fire conditions I would have to assume that the tires would melt and release the sand causing a very serious collapse hazard potentially burying firefighters. Also the toxicity of the tires would be an extreme hazard. Any building codes that allow for this in my opinion are extremly not well thought out!

  3. #3
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Maybe that's what they are planning to do with all the Firestone tires that have been recalled.....

    Seriously, I cannot see any community allowing this type of construction. It is defintely a "firefighter killer".

    ------------------
    Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
    Captain Gonzo

  4. #4
    mongofire_99
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    They're called earthships. A Yahoo search might help you out.

  5. #5
    KEA
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I watched the show on this subject about a week ago. Initially I had the same fire concerns you mentino Gary. However after watching the whole show, I thnk it would be pretty tough for the tires to ever catch on fire.

    The foundation of dirt/clay/sand packed tires is put in place and then encased in cement. Then the elctrical is installed and then covered with typicall framing. The outside is covered in stucco.

    I may be wrong but I think it would be pretty tough for the house they hightlighted to go up in flames beyond a room & content.

    In fact, I would bet if you did have a fire in this type of construction you would find that it would be contained to the rooms without penetrating the cement encased tires.

    To look at the house you would never know tires were used.

    I think we should build one and light some fires and see what happens. This would provide a good factual foundation of the fire behavior to be expected from this type of structure. From that, reccomendations could be given to future structure.

    Just my thoughts.



    ------------------
    Kirk Allen
    First Strike Technologies, Inc

  6. #6
    KEA
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I watched the show on this subject about a week ago. Initially I had the same fire concerns you mentioned Gary. However after watching the whole show, I thnk it would be pretty tough for the tires to ever catch on fire.

    The foundation of dirt/clay/sand packed tires is put in place and then encased in cement. Then the elctrical is installed and then covered with typicall framing. The outside is covered in stucco.

    I may be wrong but I think it would be pretty tough for the house they hightlighted to go up in flames beyond a room & content.

    In fact, I would bet if you did have a fire in this type of construction you would find that it would be contained to the rooms without penetrating the cement encased tires.

    To look at the house you would never know tires were used.

    I think we should build one and light some fires and see what happens. This would provide a good factual foundation of the fire behavior to be expected from this type of structure. From that, reccomendations could be given to future structures of this type.

    Just my thoughts.

    ------------------
    Kirk Allen
    First Strike Technologies, Inc

    [This message has been edited by KEA (edited 06-24-2001).]

  7. #7
    KGM
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    They are called Earthships. Here in Taos we have whole communities of them. The Architech that came up with the idea is from here (Mike Reynolds). None of them have burned down yet.

    Most are self sufficient solar. They are built into the ground, the tires are packed with dirt and clay with a sledge hammer and used as basically as a retaining wall and they are covered with Stucco. I don't feel there is too much risk of the tires themselves igniting unless there is an unusually high fuel load in the dwelling.

    The biggest risk we have in our district are the piles of tires before and during construction. Especially in our district which is all Wildland/Urban interface.

    I will let you know if I find any other info on them.

  8. #8
    FP&LS Guy
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    http://www.earthship.org/index.html

    In case you are interested

  9. #9
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    I checked out the "earthship" website...and I was impressed. I was wrong in the statement I made in my previous post.

    I do like KEA's suggestion that one gets built, then burnt to find out what to expect for a fire in this type of dwelling.

    ------------------
    Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
    Captain Gonzo

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