Row house fires: New safety resources for firefighters

  • Source: Safety+Health
  • Published: 12/31/2020 12:00 AM

A new poster and fact sheet from NIOSH are designed to help educate firefighters about the unique nature of row house fires and how to stay safe when fighting these blazes. Row houses are dwellings connected by shared sidewalls that form a single building. The resources outline typical features of exterior and interior row houses, tactics for fighting fires in these locations, and common areas where fires may spread. Fires that start in the basement of a row house potentially can spread vertically up walls, NIOSH says, extending to an attic or loft as a result of a lack of a fire wall or fire stops. Windows, doors and openings can create airflow paths that help spread the fire. NIOSH recommends firefighters conduct a community risk assessment to understand row houses in their jurisdiction, noting that architectural modernization efforts “may mean the exterior is refaced and interior has a different floor plan.” Additionally, materials used for row house modernization or construction may burn more rapidly.


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