The Who2 Blog

Modern Furniture is Screwing Up Years of Firefighting Theory

A woman jumps from the second floor of a burning building as firefighters wait below, arms outstretched, to catch her

The FDNY is filling 20 rowhouses with “red, purple and beige sofas and chairs” and then burning them down, one by one, to rethink how it fights house fires:

“One of the first tasks for firefighters arriving at a blazing home has long been to ventilate the structure -— make holes in it -— so that hot gases and smoke can escape. It has been this way for generations: a so-called roof man from a ladder company opens a hatch or saws through the ceiling, while other firefighters break windows as they search inside, often before the first drop of water has hit the fire.
But house fires have changed… With more plastic in homes, residential fires are now likely to use up all the oxygen in a room before they consume all flammable materials. The resulting smoky, oxygen-deprived fires appear to be going out. But they are actually waiting for an inrush of fresh air, which can come as firefighters cut through roofs and break windows.”
Fascinating story. Your tax dollars at work.

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