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Timber buildings are growing in popularity, but are they safe?

 

Builders in Oregon will break ground early next year on this country's tallest building made primarily of wood. The 12-story, 60-unit apartment complex in Portland called Framework is part of a national boom in wood construction, but some fire experts are raising alarms about the safety of these structures. 

For a century, there was no safe alternative to concrete and steel but now some architects are turning to compressed wood for its surprising strength and beauty, reports CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil. 

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The Latest: 7 treated for smoke after senior facility fire

11/17/2017
In this Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 photo, residents are evacuated from the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community during a fire in West Chester, Pa. At least 20 people were injured in the massive fire at the senior living community about 35 miles west of Philadelphia.  (Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 photo, residents are evacuated from the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community during a fire in West Chester, Pa. At least 20 people were injured in the massive fire at the senior living community about 35 miles west of Philadelphia. (Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
 
 WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on a massive fire at a senior living community in Pennsylvania: (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

A Pennsylvania mayor says there are still some people missing after a massive fire at a senior living center injured nearly 30 people.

West Chester Mayor Jordan Norley said Friday that it's unclear how many people are unaccounted for in the late-night blaze at the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community.

He says there aren't any confirmed fatalities.

An emergency management official says that much of the scene is too unstable for investigators to enter.

The fire was brought under control around 1:30 a.m. Friday and firefighters are still dousing smoldering hotspots.

Many neighbors helped with the rescue effort, wrapping the elderly in blankets and carrying them to ambulances in makeshift gurneys.

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After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople

BY MATT KRUPNICK, THE HECHINGER REPORT  August 29, 2017 at 1:40 PM EDT

FONTANA, Calif. — At a steel factory dwarfed by the adjacent Auto Club Speedway, Fernando Esparza is working toward his next promotion.

Esparza is a 46-year-old mechanic for Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks that makes juices and smoothies. He’s taking a class in industrial computing taught by a community college at a local manufacturing plant in the hope it will bump up his wages. It’s a pretty safe bet. The skills being taught here are in high demand. That’s in part because so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many fields like his face worker shortages.

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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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