Cook County Administration Building Fire, 69 West Washington, Chicago, Illinois, October 17, 2003: Heat Release Rate Experiments and FDS Simulations

Report Date: July 2004

In 2003, a fire in the 37-story Cook County Administration Building in Chicago, Illinois resulted in six civilian fatalities and several injuries. The victims were found in a stairwell above the fire floor. To assist investigators, NIST conducted simulation using their Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) and visualizations to provide insight into the fire growth and smoke movement. The fire began in a storage room and spread throughout the 12th floor. The simulations examined the spread of smoke into the stairway and the impact of automatic sprinklers.

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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, D. and W. D. Walton. Cook County Administration Building Fire, 69 West Washington, Chicago, Illinois, October 17, 2003: Heat Release Rate Experiments and FDS Simulations. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute for Standards and Technology, NIST-Special Publication SP-1021, 2004. Print.

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