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Technical Report Released - Strip Mall Experiments

Funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, Exploratory Analysis of the Impact of Ventilation on Strip Mall Fires is the second of three reports issued as part of the Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures project.

The report is broken down into 4 main sections:

  • Experimental Setup - description of the strip mall units, instrumentation, and fuel packages
  • Results - fire dynamics based descriptions of the data from each of the seven experiments
  • Discussion - examination of the ventilation, pressure, and structural stability
  • Tactical Considerations - assessments of the data for fire service members to consider with respect to actions on the fireground

A majority of the existing full-scale research with the fire service was primarily designed to study and quantify the impact of tactics on the residential fireground. This project went beyond previous research by specifically conducting experiments in a commercial structure. Seven full-scale experiments were completed in collaboration with the Fairborn Fire Department (Fairborn, OH) in four units of a twelve-unit acquired strip mall that was slated for demolition. These experiments were designed to analyze the impact of horizontal and vertical ventilation on ventilation-limited fires within the test units.

Beginning with a baseline case of no intentional fire service ventilation, three experiments focused on additional horizontal ventilation and three experiments focused on the combination of additional horizontal and vertical ventilation. The control variables included the ventilation method, total ventilation area provided, and timing relative to water application.

Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures