Re: WTC and Low Tech

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 13:01:50 MDT

Barbara Lamar wrote:
> Spike Jones wrote:
> > Actually it is a bit surprising that tall building do not
> > have some means of emergency escape other than stairways
> > which might be aflame.
> I've always thought this was a strange oversight as well--akin to not
> putting enough lifeboats on the TITANIC. People who live in houses with two
> or more stories typically have rope ladders stowed under the beds, and city
> codes used to require that tall buildings have external fire escapes. I've
> always felt somewhat at risk whenever I've slept in a hotel room above the
> second floor level.
> I wish I were seeing more common-sense safety ideas like Spike's and less of
> the retoric that offers an either-or choice between vulnerability and loss
> of privacy.

Tall buildings are designed with rather significant fire fighting
systems: sprinklers, extinguishers, halon systems, etc along with fire
resistant doors and walls, etc. The impact of the airliners obviously
destroyed much of these systems and features, and the 10,000 kg of
burning jet fuel was far more than the system was designed to handle,
especially for what part of the sprinkler system that was left.

In the event of a normal fire, people are trained to move up or down x
many floors to give the fire suppression systems time to work. No normal
fire is bad enough to require that entire skyscrapers be evacuated, not
since the MGM Grande fire in Las Vegas many years ago.

In the event of an overload, like dumping lots of jet fuel on the fire,
there is no way to deal with such a situation unless you build in far
greater capacity to the system.

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