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 Lessons not learned

Massachusetts belatedly confronts construction fire dangers

By  and , Globe Staff August 12, 2017

 THE NIGHT SKY GLOWED in East Longmeadow as firefighters raced toward a sprawling retirement complex being built on acres of farmland. They arrived minutes after the first call to find a raging inferno like nothing they had ever encountered.

Manufactured composite wood used in the construction of the unoccupied, 130-unit Bluebird Estates burned like kindling. Wind carried embers a half-mile away, forcing the evacuation of a hundred nearby homes.

“It was just a wall of fire,” recounted Paul Morrissette, now the town’s fire chief, who was a captain on the first truck to arrive at the scene in 2007.

The massive blaze was a wake-up call for fire departments and state officials to the serious potential hazards of these increasingly common engineered wood products, especially during construction, before sheetrock, sprinklers, and fire alarms are installed and operating. East Longmeadow immediately stepped up efforts to reduce the risk of fires at all construction sites, Morrissette said.

 
 

 

 

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Mount Pleasant hotel first South Carolina building to use lumber said to be strong as concrete

Another Day, Another Wood-Framed Apartment Fire

Waterbury, Connecticut, blaze highlights vulnerable construction methods.

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA)  MAY 19, 2017 On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, days after a wood-framed retail-apartment complex under construction in Oakland, Calif., was destroyed for the second time in a year, five firefighters were injured in a fire that destroyed four three-story multi-family homes in Waterbury, Conn., exemplifying the danger with wood-framed residential buildings.

The fire, which displaced 20 families, – 32 people in all – comes at a time of intense scrutiny for the construction materials industry and the building codes that permit the use of vulnerable methods.

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Fire Destroys Bay Area Construction Site for 2nd Time

A huge fire has destroyed an apartment building that was under construction in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Emeryville after the project was gutted by another fire last July.

| May 13, 2017, at 6:48 p.m

 

EMERYVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A huge fire has destroyed an apartment building that was under construction in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Emeryville after the project was gutted by another fire last July.

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HOW “SMART” ARE YOU?

2017: Your Winning Season

BY “COACH” GARY MICHELONI

 Everybody loves technology. As a society, many seem almost obsessed with it! Doubt me? What’s a bigger deal these days: the roll-out of the new cars each model year, or the latest version of the I-phone? I mean, my gosh… if I don’t get that new thing, what does that say about me? Of course I’ll stand in line overnight just to get the newest model from Apple!

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Maitland looks into stopping wood-frame construction

City seeks support from state
by: Sarah Wilson Staff Writer

The city of Maitland is working on hammering out a way to prohibit wood-frame construction for new buildings, and looking for cities statewide to get on board to make it happen.

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The master carpenter's son

John B. West receives 'Seventy Five Year Service Award' plaque

 

PLATTSBURGH — Nothing interrupts 95-year-old John B. West’s fitness regimen. 

Not even Albany-based representatives from the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers who presented him with a “Seventy Five Year Service Award” for his service and dedication to Local Number 2, New York/Vermont.

John received a plaque, a gold watch, a black wallet, several T-shirts and union patch Tuesday at Lake Forest Senior Living Community in Plattsburgh, where he lives.

 

“He said make sure you come mid-morning because I have my exercise class to get to,” said Kevin Potter, a field representative for Local Number 2.

The ceremony was also attended by Pat Tirino, Local Number 2 secretary/treasurer; Matt Zinc, field representative/apprentice instructor; and Robert Mantello, Local Number 2 president.

The quartet took John, his daughter, Janet Clerkin, and son, Paul, and his wife, Liz, out to lunch.

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Construction method questioned after massive College Park fire

COLLEGE PARK, MD (WUSA9) - Industry groups that tried to get Maryland to outlaw certain types of wood frame construction in big buildings are pointing to this week’s fire disaster in College Park as proof that concrete and steel is safer for large multi-level residential projects.

The 275-unit Fuse 47 building on Berwyn House Road suffered at least $39 million in damage and is still not safe for firefighters or engineers to enter because of damage to the wood-framed interior structure, according to Prince George’s County Assistant Fire Chief Alan Doubleday.

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ASTM addresses sealants, non-hydraulic cement with new additions

ASTM International has announced it will be adding a new standard to its repertoire: ASTM C1850, Guide for Improved Laboratory Accelerated Tests to Predict the Weathering and for Developing Methods to Predict the Design Life of Building Sealant Systems.

Those choosing or buying building sealant systems will be able to use this standard as a guide when evaluating such systems’ long-term performance in the face of weathering and other issues. It provides an outline for development of realistic accelerated testing methods.

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Never Forget the Triangle Factory Fire—It's Why We Have Unions

BY KEVIN BAKER

They started coming out the windows at a quarter to five on a bright, sunny spring afternoon. Large bundles of fabric, tossed from a ninth-story window in New York’s Greenwich Village. There was the sound of a muffled explosion and breaking glass, and the smell of smoke. Then the dark dress goods falling and landing with a heavy thud on the paving stones below.

“He’s trying to save the best cloth,” one observer said knowingly, sure he was watching a garment factory owner trying to salvage his stock.

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After Raleigh apartment fire, safety of wood construction questioned

BY MARTHA QUILLIN

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As flames chewed through hundreds of thousands of board feet of exposed lumber and plywood in a spectacular fire at an under-construction apartment building in downtown Raleigh Thursday night, a question swirled like smoke. Why build an apartment out of wood?

It may seem counter intuitive to see a full-scale return in 2017 to the same building materials colonists hewed from the forests when they first landed in the New World. But all over Raleigh, and especially downtown, along Hillsborough Street and around Cameron Village, wood-frame apartment buildings have proliferated in the post-recession housing-market rebirth because they’re an economical way to build highly demanded high-density housing.

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Cheaper, Faster, Better

Zaragon Place – a prime example 

BY ED DAVENPORT

“If it’s not cheaper, faster, better, don’t come to the table” has been the construction industry credo as long as I have been in the masonry business, some 35 years now. And “everyone knows that you can never have all three.” Only two are possible. But, for the last 35 years and long before that, loadbearing masonry has exceeded the cheaper, faster, better to be the cheapest, fastest, best solution to many building types. Yes, all three. And Zaragon Place, a 100,000 sf, 10 story residential building adjacent to U of M with 248 bedrooms and 66 living units above ground floor retail and underground parking demonstrates this.

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