04/22/12 220 W, 1 I - + 7 - 4 Detroit Fire Department Demolition Squad

As cited in this Statter911 story, the Detroit Fire Commissioner has some innovative ideas for dealing with cuts to his coming budget. He's focused his attention on vacant structures, which is the major fire problem in motor city.

Idea #1: Allow vacant homes that are 50% involved or greater on arrival to burn to the ground, as long as no lives (and presumably exposures) are jeopardized.

Idea #2: Asking the U.S. Navy's Seabees to demolish 10,000 vacant or dilapidated homes. Can you get your head around that one? Ten thousand vacant homes.

Idea #3: Creating a DFD demolition unit, with heavy equipment to raze the remnants of newly burned buildings. Much in the style of the heavy equipments used by LAFD, where the Commissioner last worked. 

By way of historical perspective, demolition was a proven technique for controlling fires in the 19th Century (and probably earlier). Hooks were carried with ladders. They were attached to chains and rope, and could help pull down a burning (or unburned!) building. Blasting powder served the same purpose. 

Or as happened in the great New Bern fire of 1922, a Norfolk and Southern steam engine pulled down six houses along Queen Street. Another nearly 100 homes were dynamited. Read that account as part of this New Bern Public Library special program transcript.

And a heck of a good article from Fire Engineering from last month on Detroit: http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/..
Legeros - 04/25/12 - 08:31

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