Killed in the June 18, 2007 blaze were Engineer Brad Baity, Capt. Mike Benke, Firefighter Melvin Champaign, Firefighter Earl Drayton, Assistant Engineer Michael French, Capt. Billy Hutchinson, Engineer Mark Kelsey, Capt. Louis Mulkey and Firefighter Brandon Thompson.
The smashing of the front windows 24 minutes into the incident provided oxygen to the slow-moving fire, which then rapidly spread.
Had automatic sprinklers been in place, the fire at the Sofa Super Store would have been confined to the loading dock area where the fire started, according to the NIST report.
NIST investigators were on the scene in Charleston before the ashes were cold and worked side-by-side with ATF, fire marshals and others in case they were called upon to conduct an analysis.
NIST has released its final report on the Sofa Super Store fire that killed nine firefighters from Charleston, S.C. on June 18, 2007.
The revised document includes clarifications and supplemental text based on comments provided by organizations and individuals following the release of the draft report released in October., according to a press release.
The revisions, however, do not change NIST's main findings stated in the draft.
That report found the major factors contributing to the spread of the fire were large open space with furniture as well as the rush of air following the smashing of windows and the lack of sprinklers.
The study team made 11 recommendations for enhancing building, occupant and firefighter safety nationwide and urged state and local communities to adopt current national model building and fire safety codes.
The authors of the study believe that if the codes were followed, the conditions that led to the rapid spread of the fire most likely would have been prevented.
Two recommendations in the draft report have been modified in the final report. The report now lists three nationally accept certification examination for fire inspectors and building plan examiners and also urges state and local jurisdictions to provide education to firefighters and the science of fire behavior in vented and non-vented structures.
NIST is currently working with various public and private groups to held implement changes based on the findings from the study.