NIST Begins Technical Study of South Carolina Warehouse Fire
For Immediate Release: July 16, 2007
Michael E. Newman
GAITHERSBURG, MD—The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today that it is beginning a technical study of the June 18, 2007, fire at the Super Sofa Store furniture store/warehouse in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine firefighters.
Within 36 hours of the fire, NIST had a reconnaissance team of fire experts on site to assess the situation and gather data about the fire as well as the subsequent collapse of the Super Sofa Store building. Based on that reconnaissance, NIST has determined that additional study is warranted.
The NIST team of fire experts is currently in Charleston responding to an invitation by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to participate in the interviews of the Charleston Fire Department personnel who witnessed the fire. The NIST team will use the interview data to establish a timeline for reconstructing the fire in a computer simulation, both for NIOSH’s use and for further NIST research.
Other activities for the team could include:
NIST has more than 30 years of experience studying and investigating structural failures, including those as a result of fire, earthquakes and wind. For more information on these efforts, go to www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/bfrlinvestigations.htm.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.