Fatal Training Fires: Fire Analysis for the Fire Service

Report Date: September 2007

NIST has investigated the fire conditions of two fire training incidents that resulted in the loss of lives. One incident took the lives of two firefighters in 2002 in an acquired structure in Florida and the other took the life of a fire instructor in 2005 in a concrete burn training building at the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy. NIST conducted real scale experiments and determined that both of these tragedies were in part the result of fuel loads that generated levels of energy that exceeded the design capabilities of the protective equipment. To avoid future incidents of this type, NIST has begun an effort to develop a suite of some simple tools and a guideline to assist training officers in estimating an appropriate training fire fuel load. These investigations should be used to learn from tragedy in an effort to avoid similar losses in the future.


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  • National Institute of Standards and Technology

    The NIST Fire Research Division develops, verifies, and utilizes measurements and predictive methods to quantify the behavior of fire and means to reduce the impact of fire on people, property, and the environment. This work involves integration of laboratory measurements, verified methods of prediction, and large-scale fire experiments to demonstrate the use and value of the research products.

    Through its programs in measurement, prediction, systems integration, and the dynamics of fire and its interactions with the built and natural environment, the division provides leadership for advancing the theory and practice of fire safety engineering, fire fighting, fire investigation, fire testing, fire data management, and intentional burning.

Madrzykowski, Daniel. Fatal Training Fires: Fire Analysis for the Fire Service. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute for Standards and Technology. Print.

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