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Re: Article from the Chicago Sun-Times

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Stan Scholl mentions the Chicago Convention Center fire as an example of 
sprinkler systems that do not work/are shut off.

An illustration of another misconception of where fire protection is not 
required was another Chicago building, the McCormick Place fire.  The steel 
roof structure was exempt from having fire protection because it was "x" feet 
above the center floor.  A large exhibition was being readied and exhibitors 
were preparing their exhibits.  Cardboard cartons were stacked as their 
contents were emptied when *something* caused them to catch fire.  The roof 
structure was no longer "x" feet above the fire and the huge fire load caused 
the steel to lose strength and collapse.  This exemption still exists in the 
building code.

A V-N structure that is a definite hazard to firefighters is the single story 
office-industrial-warehouse structures that are constructed with wood 
I-joists.  A fire damage that I investigated had the plywood/osb webs of the 
unprotected wood I-joists completely destroyed and the chords hung in a 
catenary.  The wood I-joists adjacent to occupancy separation walls which 
were protected with only a single layer of gyp board were undamaged.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

Stan Scholl wrote:

. > Corley's article points out the inadequacies of much of the protection
. > claimed by fire sprinkler systems. As we all know one of the largest
. > buildings in the world at the time, the Chicago Convention Center burned
. > completely down about 20 yrs. ago due to the fact that the fire
. > sprinklers did not operate. They had been turned off for water line
. > maintenance. The building was a several acre steel building.
. > Another factor not mentioned is that when fire sprinklers do work, the
. > contents and the interior walls, ceiling and many other parts of the
. > building are usually completely ruined by the water damage.

. > Stan Scholl, P.E.
. > Laguna Beach, CA

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