6abc Exclusive: Fireproofing

August 14, 2008 4:51:49 PM PDT
The blaze in the Conshohocken apartments brings up questions of fireproofing.To be clear, fire codes are designed to save lives not buildings.

From that perspective, the fire codes in Conshohocken worked, no one died.

Bob Linden's firm installed some of the fire proofing that protected steel in the garage areas and the floors inside the occupied buildings of The Riverwalk at Millenium apartments.

He says the developer did a quality job and followed the code.

"They built exactly to specification, there was nothing skimped on," Linden said.

The code, though, was apparently not enough to protect the closely spaced, large wooded building, as much of the wood became fuel.

It all begs the question - could more be done to prevent the spread of fire?

Linden says yes, there are new materials that can be sprayed on raw wood.

"We handle a product ourselves that can treat wood and, basically, make it noncombustible and fire resistant," Linden said.

Linden handles a brand called No Burn.

An insurance company demonstration shows two wood sheds. One was untreated and went up in flames; the other one was treated and became only charred, despite a firefighter dousing it with gasoline.

Could such technology have made a difference?

"It would have delayed the spread of the fire, certainly, dramatically, because it wouldn't have allowed the wood to become part of the fuel source," Linden said.

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