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    erika krieger's Avatar
    erika krieger Guest

    Default Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    NHIE Practice Exam

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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Thanks you for sharing. It is just amazing the things people try to get away with.


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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    One down, a million to go.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Architects, God love them, they design structures that will not stand up without calcs from an engineer and constructed by a qualified building contractor. Many come with built-in arrogance and are extremely difficult to work with. Most of the builders I've know in my career to a man think all architects before getting their state license should spend a minimum of 2 to 3 years in the field on a foundation and framing crew.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Here's the link from the ABA article and other links in it. What a complete idiot but it doesn't surprise me all that much.
    Fireplaces in $11M Home Were Made of Drywall, Officials Say in Manslaughter Case Against Architect - News - ABA Journal

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    I would hate to have been a home inspector on that one.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Yet another reason why DIY lawn sprinker /fire suppression doesn't work, and must be removed from above unfinished floor/ceiling assemblies over drop yep not just ceiling tiles, but dropped or suspended gyp on the ceiling joists or trusses, ceilings/attics (remember the DIY fire suppression topic of late?); and as you'll see as you progress towards the end of this post & picture...why Bob H, and others, will constantly point out that 3+stories is a shaft, and why fire stopping, blocking, clearances, support, and all the "blah blah" isn't just blah blah! Prescriptive fire resistant assemblies is what its really ALL about, and DIY tinkering, etc. can have deadly consequences. This is NOT the first time a home owner whether or not as a owner/contractor, has been charged with criminal negligence as a consequence of their stupidity, ignorant or otherwise.

    (LA Times/AP/Court Records):

    "In February 2011, the deadly fire broke out from a fireplace on the third floor, racing upward and through the mansion's attic, eating away at wood framing and supports holding up the ceiling. More than 80 firefighters raced to the home, and 19 were temporarily trapped as the fire spread. Veteran firefighter Glenn Allen was on the ground floor when several hundred pounds of plaster and lumber fell on him. His colleagues dug him out using chainsaws to cut through the debris, but his injuries were so severe that he died two days later."

    The firefighter died of mechanical asphysia - He was smothered in the collapsed debris and died as a result of same, 19 were trapped, several injured, one died, of the scores of firefighters who responded!

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/artic...ied_is_charged_

    "Authorities contend the home contained an 18-foot fire trough that was the source of the fatal blaze. It allegedly melted plastic sprinkler pipes in the attic, which flooded the ceiling insulation and then caused the ceiling to collapse due to the weight of the water. Firefighter Glenn Allen, 61, died in the blaze, and others were injured."

    LA times story following charges:

    Architect who designed and built home charged in firefighter death - latimes.com

    "Prosecutors allege that Becker, a German national, built an 18-foot 'fire trough' through the home despite being warned of the dangers it may cause. It was described as an oversize indoor fire pit.

    At the time, authorities said the ceiling collapsed and killed Allen and injured five other firefighters. They believed the fire started in the fireplace, then spread to the walls and ceiling areas.

    They said the attic was equipped with plastic pipes for fire sprinklers. The fire melted the pipes, flooding the attic and filling the insulation with water. The weight of the insulation appears to have caused a large section of the ceiling to collapse, injuring Allen and five other firefighters, officials said."

    LA times story following day free access (includes photos & links):

    LAPD: Reality TV home where firefighter died was ‘extreme’ threat - latimes.com

    "...But now, prosecutors allege that the home was more glitz than substance - and that it was essentially a deathtrap."

    "After a yearlong investigation, prosecutors on Wednesday charged Gerhard Albert Becker, 48, the home's architect and owner, with involuntary manslaughter for knowingly ignoring safety recommendations and altering the home after inspections. Becker has pleaded not guilty."

    "...Building inspectors said Becker had told them there were no plans to build fireplaces in the home, and none were spotted during a final inspection. After the fire, investigators discovered that he had installed four outdoor fireplaces inside the home, a violation of city building codes. He told investigators after Allen's death that 'he did not consider them to be fireplaces but rather architectural features or decorations,' according to court records."

    See/read the Court Records (cloud): Architect charged in LAFD firefighter's death - Documents - Los Angeles Times

    "One of the fireplaces was described as an 18-foot 'fire trough.' Another vented into the same room it was built in. And they were built on what authorities described as 'combustible materials.' "

    " 'This man built an 18-foot fire trough designed for outdoors inside the home. It was a recipe for disaster,. said Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Carney. 'He essentially put this fireplace on 2-by-4s.' "

    "A search warrant affidavit filed by LAPD Det. Gregory M. Stearns described the fireplaces as a "present, extreme, immediate and imminent hazard.' "

    Huffington post is free access (includes photos):

    Gerhard Albert Becker, German Architect, Pleads Not Guilty In LA Fireman's Death (PHOTOS)

    "As the blaze that began in the fireplace raged through the house, authorities said, it melted a plastic sprinkler pipe. That filled a false ceiling that was made of drywall and wood with water and caused it to collapse.
    The ceiling gave way as firefighter Glenn Allen was fighting the flames. Chainsaws had to be used to free Allen from the debris, and he died two days later. Five other firefighters were injured."

    "Authorities allege that the shoddy way the home was built, including putting a fireplace on the third floor that was designed only for outside use, caused the blaze."

    "Before the just-completed three-story home burned down on Feb. 16, 2011, , it was to have been the location for a photo shoot for the reality TV show 'Germany's Next Top Model'."

    "Becker left the country soon after the fire, but authorities said there was no indication he was fleeing to avoid arrest. He is a German citizen and his 90-day visa was about to expire, Beck said. "

    "He was arrested Saturday by FBI agents and authorities when he arrived in Los Angeles from Spain, where he also has a home."


    Its in the news again now because he just returned from Europe (charges filed Weds, after a year-long investigation) and was arrested upon his arrival. As the owner/contractor, not as a licensed Architect. Such unfinished/dangerous eye-candy crap surface/for the camera shoot crap is often found on those "reality" remodel, rennovation, and dream home shows. A particular case comes to mind from west suburban chicago area for one such the family included a son with special needs (accessible, transfer hoists, etc.) who fell victim to such "dream home reality TV "rebuild" faulty construction and the tax bill (for income of the overpriced materials & labor for the (everything had to be torn down) "income" they received, not to mention the loss of the original, pre-"make-over" previously habital home ...
    From above link...

    "The affidavit says a building inspector determined that the fireplaces in the home were not constructed in a typical manner, which would have involved the use of noncombustible materials such as brick or stone, liner material that was resistant to high temperatures and an angled design intended to help vent heat and ash through a flue leading out of the building."

    "In the Hollywood Hills home, by contrast, the fireplaces were built of wood framing and lined on the bottom, sides and top with combustible drywall that ordinarily is used for standard walls, according to the document. Ceramic tile or slate was glued to the drywall."

    "Among other ways in which the building inspector found that the construction "fails to meet any standards for approved fireplaces," the affidavit says, one of the fireplaces was vented into the interior of the mansion. It appears from the affidavit that all of the fireplaces were gas, rather than wood-burning, and allegedly were manufactured for use outdoors rather than indoors."

    "Becker allegedly told investigators that he considered his installations architectural or decorative features, rather than fireplaces."

    Just listed...12 days ago, "As is" Cash only...
    1546 VIEWSITE Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069 | MLS# 12-579989

    "Exquisite Architectural estate with unobstructed views of Los Angeles and beyond. Brand new construction featuring steel, glass and wood this home is a triumph to modern architecture and design. The dramatic open plan is perfect for entertaining and has ~~~museum style walls~~~ to showcase distinguished art. Gourmet top-of-the-line kitchen, dining, great room with stone fireplace and ultra luxurious master suite with soaking tub. Designer details include media room with aquarium style pool, European cabinetry, custom built fixtures and advanced technology with one touch system. Perfect for enjoying the Southern California lifestyle, this estate features an infinity edge pool, sitting area with fire pit, exterior diningpavilion, gym, yoga studio, and landscaped grounds for privacy."
    For Sale (MLS-listed)
    $10,950,000
    MLS#: 12-579989 Source:TheMLS Status:Active. This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers. On Redfin:12 days (Listing Feb. 6)


    Fireplace Information (!)
    • Gas
    • In Living Room
    Legal Disclosures
    • Take Property As Is
    • Commission To Buyers Agent
    Listing Information
    • Possession: Close Of Escrow
    • Special Conditions: Standard Sale
    • Listing Terms: Cash
    • Listing Terms: Cash To New Loan
    Listing last changed
    February 15, 2012, 11:39 AM


    1546 Viewsite Dr Los Angeles CA - Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing - MLS #12-579989 - Realtor.com

    Historical Stories (Last Year 2011 Stories, following fire):

    LAPD probes substandard construction in blaze that killed firefighter - latimes.com

    "Sources told The Times that there is no evidence that the fire was intentionally set, but investigators are trying to determine whether the recently rebuilt house was constructed properly and in a sound and legal manner"

    "The 12,500-square-foot home in the 1500 block of North Viewsite Drive is surrounded by crime tape, with a police cruiser is parked in front to bar access to the property without police permission and supervision.
    Firefighter Glenn Allen, 61, died last Friday of injuries he sustained when a water-soaked ceiling collapsed during a Feb. 16 blaze. Investigators believe the ceiling filled with water when the plastic pipe connected to a sprinkler system melted."

    "David Lara, a spokesman for the city's Building and Safety Department, said last week that investigators hoped to have preliminary findings this week on whether design and construction issues might have had anything to do with the ceiling's collapse."

    "It's unclear what that department found."

    "The home was intended for use in a reality show for German TV starring Heidi Klum in a knockoff of "America's Next Top Model."

    Firefighter dies of injuries in Hollywood Hills fire - latimes.com

    Hollywood Hills mansion where firefighter died declared a crime scene [Updated] - latimes.com

    Officials probe structural issues in home where L.A. firefighter killed - latimes.com
    (officials probe structural issues...)



    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-18-2012 at 01:53 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Just another reason (IMO) that unless there is life in peril, all fires should be fought from outside any structure regardless of value. Just what is valued when one is fighting a fire, the question begs!


  9. #9
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    Cool the world is not so safe

    Fighting a fire in a house 20x20 is easy from the windows and doors. Large buildings are another matter. Typically, your fire streams push the fire into other areas thereby extending the fire instead of containment so you can extinguish it. Just a little bit more to it. Bob, where you ever a fire fighter?
    FWIW, I was.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    No I am not, nor have I ever been Bob H.
    I was not commenting on any technicalities as to fighting fires.
    I was commenting on the life of a firefighter being of more value than any structure regardless of its monetary worth.
    Is why I mentioned "unless there is other life at risk" in my comment.

    Law enforcement will not enter a structure when there is risk to their own life except to save another. Even so, they will do with extreme caution.

    Insurance companies love the fact that Fire Fighters will risk their own life to save the Ins Co. $$.


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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I would hate to have been a home inspector on that one.
    No doubt...

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

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    Cool Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Bob Smit, I do appreciate your concern for the safety of fire fighters and the notion of limiting risk to only when life safety is known at stake but it is not so simple. Little fires usually become big fires if left unchecked and big fires tend to put more people at risk in many ways.

    Fires are often used to hide crimes so extinguishments becomes part of crime scene preservation.

    Fire fighting is a voluntary occupation with well documented risks. It is known to be one of the most hazardous occupations there is just like combat duty and crab fishing in Alaska. Men will always be willing to put themselves at risk for employment. That's how our world got built--men willing to take risks. Sure, fire officers have a duty to TRY to determine when conditions are minimally acceptable to risk an interior attack. Sure, there have been a lot of losses. However, those losses are reducing as we learn and establish training protocols. Usually when there are losses, it is because someone failed to follow established procedure. This is true of airplane crashes as much as it is interior fire fighting. It's far from a perfect world and we cannot live our lives in cocoons or in fear.

    I don't know where you get your info. about law enforcement not entering structures except to save lives as that is simply patently false. Take it from a paramedic who daily entered ANY sort of building with or without cops in tow. The only times we would not enter was when you had a hostage situation, gas leak, etc.

    Sure, insurance companies benefit from fire fighters reducing their risk. So do flight training schools, cops, paramedics, fire hydrants, sprinkler systems, etc, etc. You sound like you want to demonize insurance companies here.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Architect Arrested In Connection With Los Angeles LODD

    Bob H., I get your comments, thanks.
    As far as Police Officers, I get that info from my Officer friends.
    Yes I loath insurance companies for the most part.
    I don't want to comment any further about Insurance corruption as this is far from the intent of this thread and this site. Was just giving my PI. I won't mention it again.


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