1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb Lightweight Construction Claims 2 more

    The McDonalds in Houston, Texas where 2 of the bravest perished is indicative of the lightweight building components that are used in the construction industry. The load placed upon these structural members is too great to withstand any fire whatsoever. Firefighters are paying for their lives because of the money saved on cheaper building materials. As Frank Branigan points out, "Know your Building"

  2. #2
    Lieutenant Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If the construction industry wants to continue to build "throwaway" buildings, save money and make big profits, then we as firefighters, after the occupants are rescued, should surround and drown the "disposable" building. After all, if they really cared about the construction methods and materials they used, they would have built a safer building and incorporated a fire suppression/sprinkler system in it.

    This is an excellent reason to go out and do district familiarization, to see the type of construction used in these buildings and to preplan for the worst case scenario.

    Too many of our Brothers and Sisters have died because of firefighter killing construction methods and materials. Like Frank Brannigan has stated so many times...know your buildings....

    Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo

    [This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited February 14, 2000).]

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    The construction industry, the consumers, the politicians who water-down the recommendations of the Fire Service... they are all to blame.

    I watched a local McDonalds burn in December, and was pleased to see that the Chief ordered an exterior attack right from the start. Those buildings are not made to hold the load of AC units on their light frame.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree with you guys and with Brannigan. A McDonalds just caught fire in my neck of the woods four days ago. On arrival the first engine had heavy smoke conditions from the rear & the roof. On my department's arrival (2nd alarm), I witnessed a fire that was definately in the roof. When the first truck company finished their first cut in the roof, they reported that one of the HVAC units was sagging in the rear. Command then ordered everyone out of the buidling. 3 alarms worth of equipment eventually suurounded & drounded it.
    The reason I am writing this is that there is a certain "professional" firefighter in a major city south of us second guessing this move(I use "professional" lightly).
    Anyway- just as we sit here and morn the loss of two great people from Houston we have one that is wishing that some firefighters make that same gamble and he is attempting to go to the local papers saying that the fire department "messed" this one up. If we would have lost men what would he have said then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    His ignorance & lack of education in this matter is obvious!

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There was a fire in a McDonalds here last week and the chief i/c went defensive and called a second alarm right away. Fire in the roof, and flames showing when they arrived.


  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey guys, how fast are these places going down? I (luckily) haven't been to one of these yet. I've heard of an open KFC going down in less than 20 minutes from dispatch. Is this accurate in your cases? Thanks in advance.

  7. #7
    Lieutenant Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It's time for fire departments everywhere to come with an SOP/SOG on fast food restaurant fires... it can be simple...rescue the occupants and surrond and drown! We have to enemies...the fire and the building itself!

    PS: If a fast food place closes, the building is usually converted to another restaurant or for other occupancies. We have a former Wendy's that was split into two occupancies...a pack and ship center and a dry cleaning establishment...twice the fire load and lightweight construction to boot...can you say firefighter killer?...sure you can.

    Take care and stay safe...Lt. Gonzo

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Hello, I am not sure if you have this problem where you are at but Here in East Texas I have found alot of Homes have ALL the AC/Heat Equip in the Attic,,, Same Principle 2000lbs supported by 2x4 or 2x6 any Fire Damage and it is a Collapse waiting to Happen... We have to Educate our Selves and others that this is a Definate Danger and Realy Look a Search Protocol before Committing our F/F to a Buisness Fire or Residental Fire that may already be Empty of Occupants... Damned if You Do,, Damned if You Dont..

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm not sure about all of the different codes around the country but I do know when I worked for a comerical HVAC company in Shelby county TN, years ago, the new spec were calling for all penatration over 100 square inches to be supported by angle iron. On roof top units and smoke fans we were to use 2" x 2" x 1/4" angle iron to support all four sides and to be tied into the building structure in a manner that these would support the unit completely. An interesting side note to this is their motivation for doing this had nothing to do with fires or collapse. It was to prevent the roof from vibrating and causing roof leafs. These support would only support the units for a few extra minutes in a well involved fire as this is also where the heat is going to be the most intense. It should also be noted that on commerical buildings, that use metal decking mostly, that this decking is greatly weaken when cut through the ribs as it for most penatrations in addition the the additional weight being place there. I agree whole heartly with everyone that these building need to be build with fire in mind.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our department had a McDonald's fire a few days before the Huston Fire. I our case there were only minor injuries, and the building was lost. A few days later the local newspaper had a letter to the editor that stated the building could have been saved, IF the responding departments had been paid departments rather then volunteer dapartments. Needless to say there has been a fire storm a responses. The reponses have come from local government leaders, the general public, and members of the fire service.

    So that we might prepair an informed response to this incident, I would like to hear from other departments that have had fires in free standing fast food establishments within the past couple of years. It appears that there might have been several of these types of fires with the same end result, building lost.

    Any information that you are willing to share or the name and address of a contact person in your department that can provide that information will be most helpful.

    Mike Crockett

    [This message has been edited by MJCROCKETT (edited February 27, 2000).]

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