Nine Career Fire Fighters Die in Rapid Fire Progression at Commercial Furniture Showroom

Report Date: February 2009

A fire occurred on the evening of June 18, 2007, in the Sofa Super Store in South Carolina, taking the lives of nine firefighters in the line of duty. NIOSH and NIST analyzed the fire ground, consulted with other experts, and performed computer simulations of fire growth alternatives. Based on these analyses, they determined a sequence of likely events. The fire had spread and overwhelmed the interior crew, and the interior crew radioed for assistance. The front showroom windows were vented and a hidden, fuel-rich fire in an interstitial space and a fuel-rich gas mixture below the space were ignited and intensified. The result was a fire that swept extremely quickly throughout the store. NIST presented eleven recommendations to help mitigate such future losses. These investigations should be used to learn from tragedy in an effort to avoid similar losses in the future.

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  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

    Each year an average of 100 firefighters in the United States die in the line of duty. To address this continuing national occupational fatality problem, NIOSH conducts independent investigations of firefighter line of duty deaths. This web page provides access to NIOSH investigation reports and other fire fighter safety resources.

  • 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.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Nine Career Fire Fighters Die in Rapid Fire Progression at Commercial Furniture Showroom – South Carolina. Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH Report # F2007-18, 2009. Print. 

Bryner, Nelson P., Stephen P. Fuss, Bryan W. Klein, and Anthony D. Putorti. Technical Study of the Sofa Super Store Fire – South Carolina, June 18, 2007. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute for Standards and Technology, NIST-SP 1118 Volume I, 2011. Print. 

Bryner, Nelson P., Stephen P. Fuss, Bryan W. Klein, and Anthony D. Putorti. Technical Study of the Sofa Super Store Fire – South Carolina, June 18, 2007. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute for Standards and Technology, NIST-SP 1119 Volume II, 2011. Print.

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