Whole New Meaning to Modular

I recently received an email with some pictures attached to it. The pictures were taken by Victor Dane, a firefighter in St. Louis County.  He took these pictures not far from where he works and has been kind enough to share.

As you can see, these are shipping/storage containers that are being stacked and pushed together to create a building.  Here is what Victor says about the containers and what they are being used for:

There was a Night Club called City Slickers.  It burned down and the owner wanted a building that would be fire proof and bullet proof.  These are whole cargo shipping containers.  There will be some rooms in these containers I was told. The builder told me building with these containers is very common in the South.  I need to get updated photos now.  The building now has siding all over it.  You can not tell it is a metal building.  I hope the local FD remembers this if it burns again.  The walls will be very difficult to breech.

As soon as I get updated photos I will pass them along.  We need to remember that with the economy and other factors, contractors and builders will cut corners however necessary to save a buck.  We need to also remember why it is so important to get out and know our area.

I post the importance of this frequently, but I just don’t think you can emphasize it enough.  You must know what is going on in your jurisdiction.

Make it interesting and stop at a building and put up your ladder just for practice. Sit and consider the obstacles or water supply issues with a certain area or complex.  Just get out and do it.

In addition to the fact that these may be being built with no code enforcement, what other tactical issues can you identify with this situation?

What will happen to the heat in this make shift building?

How will ventilation happen with the over roof?

There are a number of issues that must be identified and put into tactical considerations.  List your concerns and tactics for this building.


  • Bob Weidman says:

    With rooms being built inside these shipping containers, search will be unbelievable!

  • michael says:


    I can’t even imagine, (well, actually I can) how hot a contents fire will be in this place. I pass it ten times a day and still can’t believe how ugly it is. I hope the trend goes away.

  • Firegeezer says:

    Building codes would not permit this structure in the state where I live. Perhaps this bullet-proof nightclub is in an area without any building or fire codes. Obviously no adequate emergency exits (yet, anyway). Unbelievable.

  • Robby O says:

    WOW….just wow. First off heat will have a significant impact on this buildings integrity I think, second I think search is a non issue dependant of fire conditions. If you have got moderate smoke in this building then you can can guarantee that a major event is inside it and if the people are not already out then finding them viable inside is highly unlikely. Succesful rope searches are a haleys commet event and often only expose firefighter to risk that is uneeded. The human body can not sustain breathing heated air or toxic smoke conditions for over 90 seconds so people deep in the building would have little chance of survival. I would have the special service companies perform line of sight rescues and have the engine company focus on fire supression.

    We would probbaly place a hazard message on this occupancy in my FD and much like you are doing send out pics and info department wide so everyone would know about it.

    Great find!!!

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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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