Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Attic Fire

  1. #1
    Martin Compton's Avatar
    Martin Compton Guest

    Default Attic Fire

    On my way to an inspection in a gated development in the La Quinta, CA area, I saw a fire damaged house. On my way back, I stopped and took a few photos. The garage appears to be burned out and the roof over the house failed. I would guess that there was a fire separation between the garage and the attic violation. There are a lot of homeowners who have installed evaporative coolers with vents through the fire separation ceiling and pull down ladders. The local newspaper did not have much information except that the three occupants escaped unharmed and there was a half million dollars worth of damage. Many if not most realtors do not consider this a problem. One even says that the evaporative cooler vents in the ceiling will cool the attic which lowers your a.c. costs.
    Most of our garages in this area that have a drywall ceiling do not have an additonal fire separation wall between the garage attic and the house attic.

    Similar Threads:
    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Member Benefits1

  2. #2

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Martin: I would think the fire dept was the cause of the roof failure. They cut a hole in the roof for fire to exit!!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Compton View Post
    I would guess that there was a fire separation between the garage and the attic violation.
    I would not make that presumption - the fire could have started in the attic.

    Not even knowing this:
    There are a lot of homeowners who have installed evaporative coolers with vents through the fire separation ceiling and pull down ladders.
    Most of our garages in this area that have a drywall ceiling do not have an additonal fire separation wall between the garage attic and the house attic.
    No reason to have a secondary separation wall when the garage ceiling is at least 1/2" drywall.

    If we were to think of all the ways people can screw houses up and recommend ways to defeat those screw-ups ... the houses would be built like M1 Abrams tanks.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolland Pruner View Post
    Martin: I would think the fire dept was the cause of the roof failure. They cut a hole in the roof for fire to exit!!
    Yeah, kinda.

    Fire departments cut holes in roofs to let the heat and combustion gases out. Wood combusts at 451 degrees. If they can release the heat in the attic to lower the temp below 451, the wood will not burn. As items burn they release gases which are combustible. Opening the roof releases the combustible gases and helps to cool the attic space below the ignition point.

    As a secondary measure, it provides access to the attic to apply water. Often you will see a mist pattern vs. a stream pattern. The mist turns to steam converting the heat to steam. This serves to cool the area below the ignition point.

    Fire needs three things: heat, oxygen and fuel. If you reduce or remove the heat below the ignition point, the fire will self extinguish.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  5. #5
    Martin Compton's Avatar
    Martin Compton Guest

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I would not make that presumption - the fire could have started in the attic.
    It appears from an on site observation and the photos that the garage was totally burned out. It does not seem likely that a fire starting in the attic would burn out the garage as a fire starting in the garage migrating to the attic with fire separation violations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No reason to have a secondary separation wall when the garage ceiling is at least 1/2" drywall.
    Yes, I agree that a secondary separation wall is not required, but they do exist. When I find a pull down ladder violation, I check to see if there is fire separation between the garage attic and the house attic. And in some cases, I have found fire separation walls between the garage attic and the house attic. I have a secondary fire separation wall in my own house (based on observations during construction).

    My main point is that attic fires can be a real disaster. Therefore, be observant of fire separation violations that could cause this to happen when a fire orginates in the garage. There is some resistance to this realization in the real estate community.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Compton View Post
    My main point is that attic fires can be a real disaster. Therefore, be observant of fire separation violations that could cause this to happen when a fire orginates in the garage. There is some resistance to this realization in the real estate community.
    I completely agree with that - even some home inspectors (and some municipal code inspectors too) do not pay as much attention to that as they should.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •