Fire and Multi-Story Wood Frame Structures


The apparent growth in the use of wood frame systems in multi-story non-residential buildings brings with it an additional amount of risk - particularly during construction.  As one news reporter observed, "The disadvantage of wood-framed buildings is obvious: wood burns." This has been proven recently in several high-profile and spectacular fires, but there are many more lesser-known  examples of the impact of using combustible materials.

To keep SFIA members informed about the trends and implications of wood framed construction, it has begun tracking examples that collectively are creating a mosaic of risk that should make insurers, building owners, and fire marshals uncomfortable.

March 11, 2014 PDF Email

Mission Bay Project, San Francisco, CA
Date of Incident: March 11, 2014
Project Description:  The projects, supported by piles, consist of 4 and 5-story wood framed residential buildings over 2 levels of parking. The levels above the podium slabs are Type III and V.  The 172 unit building was one half of the Mission Bay Project owned by BRE Properties.

March 3, 2014 PDF Email

Commercial Building, Roxbury, MA
Date of Incident:  March 3, 2014
Project Description:  3-story wood frame building under renovation

February 9, 2014 PDF Email

550 East and 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT
Date of Incident:     February 9, 2014
Project Description:   Four story, wood frame apartment complex

December 17, 2013 PDF Email

Student Apartments, Kingston, Ontario, CAN
Date of Incident:  December 17, 2013
Project Description:  The 144-unit student apartment complex in Kingston, Ont., was massive – 4,559 square metres (49,072 square feet). The mayor called the wood-framed building a tinderbox, even though, once completed, it would meet building and fire-code specifications.

August 8, 2013 PDF Email

Monroe Apartments, Portland, OR
Date of Incident:  August 8, 2013
Project Description:  46-unit, wood frame apartment building

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