Inquiry into deadly high-rise fire in NYC

Investigators suggest that a series of building code violations--and perhaps firefighting problems, as well--led to the tragedy.

08/22/2008



According to a recent New York Times article , contractors tearing down the contaminated former Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan never had a formal demolition permit, even though they were undertaking one of the most complicated efforts ever to dismantle a skyscraper.

When a fire broke out Aug. 18 at the tower, it took roughly 80 minutes to get water on the flames, in part because workers there waited some 13 minutes to call 911 and then gave firefighters inaccurate information about whether emergency equipment at the site was working.

This mistake should make engineers, both those who design buildings and those who facilitate demolition, think twice. For example, in the article “ Re-thinking high-rise egress, top to bottom ,” the author discusses how designers devise more efficient ways to get building occupants out—and first responders in.

And communication lapses further disrupted the firefighting response in New York City. Walkie-talkies failed, and critical calls for help went unheard. Men were lost in the confusion. One firefighter’s radio problems forced him to crawl to the building’s edge to report that two imperiled colleagues were trapped by stairwells that had been sealed off. Both men were killed.

Those are among the dozens of findings by a team of investigators who were enlisted by the New York Fire Dept. to conduct a formal inquiry into the deadly fire, according to people who have been briefed on the departmental investigation or have seen its findings. Those people said the report issued by investigators—which has not been publicly released—finds fault or concern with many aspects of the building’s demolition and the response to the fire.

The report, presented to fire union officials in a tightly controlled meeting at Fort Totten in Queens, will be turned over to the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau. His office has undertaken a broad criminal inquiry into the fire at the high-rise building, which was being simultaneously decontaminated and dismantled, floor by floor, after being damaged on Sept. 11, 2001, and contaminated by toxic substances.

This is not the first time fire codes have been violated. In June, several commercial buildings had outstanding fire code violations , resulting in the arrest of more than 100 people.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
Safety standards and electrical test instruments; Product of the Year winners; Easy and safe electrical design
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation modernization; Predictive analytics enable open connectivity; System integration success; Automation turns home brewer into brew house
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
Compressed air plays a vital role in most manufacturing plants, and availability of compressed air is crucial to a wide variety of operations.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me