Wind Driven Fires Part 1

Check out the video above and pay real close attention to the fire behavior.

These tests were conducted as a result of some LODD that had strange conditions that were not typical in high-rise fires. NIST conducted the studies with the assistance of FDNY and Chicago FD.

The clip in the upper left is of a bedroom and normal furnishings and an average fire load for this type of apartment.

The upper right shows the same unit, but down the a hall in the kitchen area.

The lower left shows the stairwell and the lower right is the outside of the apartment room with thermal imaging.

This test shows how an apartment fire turns into a blow torch when the fire room window fails or is vented by crews. The wind blowing into the apartment creates a blow torch effect making conditions untenable.

Watch the temperatures and the velocity of the heat and fire. At around 2:20 the window fails and all hell breaks loose.

The temperature is a a thermometer imbedded in the concrete wall for the thermal view.

This is some dangerous stuff and I will post more on this and the changes that are being suggested for high rise fire tactics.

But, this phenomenon is not isolated to high rise structures. We need only to look at the fire in Houston last year that claimed the lives of two firefighters and the Kyle Wilson LODD in Prince William County to see how residential fires are affected by wind.

Stay tuned and stay safe. More on this soon. For additional details and videos go to the NIST website at

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Jason Hoevelmann

Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with the Sullivan Fire Protection District, a combination department, and a career firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County.

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Tim Westlake
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Steve. Thank you. I to am a Training Officer both in the NYS Department of Corrections as a FBTI and as a CFI/MTO and Lieutenant of a 60 member Volunteer Department. I to do not train enough. I agree with everything you said. My biggest problems are also not the few but the many. As…
2015-08-18 03:25:36
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
I totally agree with your comments regarding training and preparation I want to know the person standing next to my son / sons are capable of fighting a fire with knowledge dedication and standing shoulder to shoulder with a motto of " no man left behind " the only safety line you have to getting…
2015-07-04 02:13:54
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
2015-07-04 00:04:50
Ryan Huffman
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
I am a volunteer lieutenant in a rural department and I work full time on a medic unit. This article is very powerful and was a very good read. I love to train and train harder everyday that I'm at work or at the volly house and when I'm not there I'm constantly reading articles…
2015-07-03 13:19:23
Kevin Hurl
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Too True, I am a big fan of the saying "you can never train to hard for a job that kill you" Well said and I'll copying the link to this to our brigade Facebook page.
2015-07-01 22:40:09

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