There was a fire in one of the units of my highrise in the past year. One
of the tenants said that that there was so much smoke that it was hard to f
ind his way through the hallway to the stairwell. Obviously, this means th
at smoke billowed into the stairwell when the door was opened by those gett
ing to the stairwell. For a month or two afterward, there was an industria
l size HEPA filter on the floor on which the fire occurred. I'm pretty sur
e there was no specific cleaning of the hallway, but I could be wronga bout
that. However, I would be shocked if there was even the slightest thought
of cleaning the stairwell.
I use to climb the entire stairwell for exercise -- twice a day. This was a
fter the fire. However, I've been reading of the residue that can be left
behind after a fire. Is it unwise to use the stairwell for exercise? This
question is relevant to highrises in general because with that many units,
I'm sure that the probability of fire having occured and pumped smoke into
the stairwell is quite high. Likely proportional to the age of the buildi
If there was a 1 hour fire check door fitted to the flat - then he should
have stayed in the flat until the fire brigade arrived.
From memory, I believe that all high-rise flats must be fitted with 1 hour
fire check doors to the main apartment access and internal rooms so that the
occupants can be safely rescued in the event of a fire.
If the fire was that bad, then there would have been some very noticeable
smoke damage in the stairwell that would most certainly have needed cleaning
off - or even redecoratig after the clean up.
Please supply the link[s] to the information that you were reading.
If the residue was that bad, would it be unwise to use the stairwell for
access to the flats until the it had been cleaned? if that was the case,
then the tenants (including yourself) would have been temporarily rehoused.
And that is one of the reasons you should stay in your flat, behind the 1
hour fire check front door and internal doors and wait for the fire brigade
to arrive to assist your escape.
The only exception to this is if the fire is in your flat and your life is
in danger, then you should shut all the doors inside it, exit the flat and
shut the front door and use the nearest fire escape (not the lifts if
This reduces the effects of smoke and fumes in the stairwells.
On Saturday, September 20, 2014 8:22:23 PM UTC-4, Woodworm wrote:
Sorry, I don't follow your remark about the 1 hour fire check door.
Even if it was true, my concern is that the smoke billowed into the
hallways as to make it difficult to even find the way to the
stairwell, and entered the stairewell when the tenants on that floor
took the stairwell.
My concern is the info out there relating to smoke damage.
Apparently, it coats everything, not necessarily in an apparent way.
Sometimes filmy, sometimes powdery.
I basically did the following search:
I apologize, I should have clarified that the stairwell is the fire
stairwell. Or that's how it's normally looked upon as. It might be
perceived as being rarely used, which would certainly be true. The
norm is to use the lift. So there might be less concern with testing.
In our fire drills, the entire highrise is evacuated.
Fire check doors fitted with intumescent strips to prevent smoke penetration
must be fitted by law in high-rise domestic buildings. This is so that the
tenants can stay put while the fire brigade deals with the problem.
As for your statement "difficult to even find the way to the stairwell" I
find that difficult to believe as that would be the main fire escape and
should be sign posted and easy to locate - unless there are fire escapes
fitted to the outside of the building (usually metal and of open design)
which are accessed through designated external windows/doors) thus reducing
the likelihood of smoke.
As for your statement "that the smoke billowed into the hallways" that will
happen whenever a door is opened when a flat is on fire and ventilation for
that smoke should be designed into the stairwat
Believe me, if the smoke is that bad, then you will see the staining caused
by it (usually black and greasy and a sod to shift)
If is the only stairway in the high rise, it is also classes as a 'fire
escape' (as you would *NOT* use the lift in such a case) and would be signed
as such and fitted with self-closing fire check doors on every landing.
That stairway should be checked every year and kept clear of obstruction
Using the stairs and NOT using the lifts should be the standarr practice -
and as you have regular fire drills, then *EVERY* tenant would be familiar
with the escape routes and procedures.
Personally, I think a little paranoia is creeping in.
On Sunday, September 21, 2014 2:34:03 PM UTC-4, Woodworm wrote:
As I said previously, the whole building evacuates when the alarm is
sounded. I don't see any strips on the door frame, and the fact that
much smoke escaped the unit that was on fire, and entered another
unit, indicates to me that we do not have effective smoke containment.
It could be that the person/people who recounted this were being
deceptive, but I sure don't see the motive for that. I also don't see
the reason why you believe this would be false, especially if there
was a lot of smoke.
I am reconstructing a likely scenario based on the only information I
have, which are people's accounts. If there was so much smoke in the
hallway that the stairwell door was hard to find, then one can
naturally expect a lot of that smoke to enter the stairwell when the
stairwell door is opened. The stairwell is entered from the hallway,
and there was also a lot of smoke damage to an apartment unit that was
far away from the unit with the far. Even though the door was closed.
I think that my last point still is still valid, that smoke damage
isn't always visible. So the question is, what *is* a good indicator
of whether an internal space is OK or not, and a rational
substantiation of the answer would be would be priceless.
It isn't clear to me which point you are asking about a quote
for. Can you be more specific? I can certainly attempt to track down
the source of relevant material. Or clarify that it is my perception,
if that is the case.
There are two stairwells, one at each end of the hall. In each
stairwell, there is a doorway to the stairwell from the hallway at
each floor. There are no special seals around the frame.
I should have clarified that when I said the norm is to use the lift,
I mean outside of a fire alarm scenario.
Please see my above clarification about using the lift outside of a
fire alarm scenario.
I'm not sure why you would. I asked for the opinion of people with
experience with smoke damage, and I tried to reconcile some of the
information you offered that seemed to be inconsistent either with the
situation or with the info found online. If anything, your last
opinion seems oddly out of place. Perhaps defensive, though I don't
think such a position is warranted. This is (hopefully) a rational
On Sunday, September 21, 2014 11:02:52 PM UTC+1, email@example.com wrote:
For a high rise that is not reassuring. I can only +1 the suggestions that
you get capable advice on fire precautions and bring the building upto date
. I don't have the expertise you need. I assume that all doors between a fl
at and the shared corridors should at least be fire doors fitted with intum
escent strips, and of course there are various other requirements.
Some people exagerate - it's that simple. And if that person has lived in
that high rise for more than a fortnight, he or she would be able to find
their way to stairs - and in dense smoke, you simply lie flat on your
stomach, with your nose scraping the ground and crawl. *DO**NOT* try
walking in that situation.
Yes it is, if it's not cleared off or coated with a stain-block it will
bleed through any decoration. If you cannot see smoke damage, then don't
11,000,000 results - on that link, which ones are you referring to, can
*you* be more specific?
Try looking on the edges of the doors and look for springs that don't allow
the door to stay in the open position - and if idiots wedge those doors open
for extra ventilation etc then no amount of regulation will stop that.
If that sounds harsh, I make no apology because idiocy like that causes
Take a little advice - *DO**NOT* believe most of what you read on the
internet (unless it has come from official sources). If you want specific
information straight from the horses mouth - nip down to you nearest fire
station, bang on the door and ask the firefighters, they will gladly give
you all the information (or point you to it) that you seek. *AND* while
you're there, ask them to check out the fire precautions in your block flats
as from your post, there are problems that could possibly cause death.
Not defensive nor apologetic, Just used to repairing and cleaning fire
damaged properties - and from the tone of your posts, paranoia seems to be
evident (if not for you, perhaps for others).
As for the effects of smoke, that seldom harms you, it's the chemicals/gases
that come from various burning materials mixed with that smoke that usually
does the damage, and once these are *properly* cleaned off the various
surfaces and the redecoration done all should be well.
I cannot see any post in this thread where I made THAT statement, if my
'handle' is against the post where that statement came from - then it is
false - please check the headers of the post.
Note: The statement is factually correct though - and it may have come from
someone residing in my killfile, hence the reason I have not seen it.
Sigh! Put into perspective. If the pollution from the smoke residue on the
walls was in any way damaging to general health of people walking, running
etc up the stairs, then that residue would be classed a possibly
carcinogenic (highly likely) and highly dangerous to health and very obvious
'greasy' black stains affecting the walls - and it would far worse at the
seat of the fire in the flat.
If that were the case, every occupant of the block of flats would be forced
to move out of their property until either the building was demolished and
rebuilt or (the more logical) the carcinogenic residue was removed and the
affected parts of the build redecorated and declared safe by the relevant
As that obviously didn't happen, then I would suggest that the smoke damage
was minor (just a bad pong) which only needed ventilation to clear the
stairway - and major damagage (if any) was confined to the flat and possibly
into the corridor and the statement "One of the tenants said that that
there was so much smoke that it was hard to find his way through the hallway
to the stairwell." was *NOT* in fact entirely true.
As for the "objective basis", have you did as I suggested and contacted your
local fire station? If not, then I would reiterate that you do this to put
your mind at rest. Oh, and have any of the other occupants of the flats
enquired about this subject - or is it only you?
On Tuesday, September 23, 2014 6:43:49 PM UTC-4, Woodworm wrote:
It looks like a simple wood door.
I'm trying to recount the content of the conversation, so it will not
be of the accuracy of a recording. I am 2 steps removed from the
person who said this, so it could very well have been an expression of
not being able to see his way to the stairwell Someone familiar with
the hallway would obviously be able to feel his/her way to the
My impression that smoke damage doesn't have to be visible comes from
web browsing, e.g.,
I would like to be, but you asked for quotes. I'm just not sure for
what. In a scientific paper, you normally provide a citation to back
up a specific statement, phrase, or fact.
Granted, you also asked for links to the information I'm reading, but
I browsed quite a few webpages, and they come from the above search.
In order to find specific quotes, I'd have to know what specifically
you want a citation for. Was is a particular detail I mentioned that
seemed odd and thus required substantiation?
I'm not sure why you pointed out the 11 million links -- google will
come up with countless links for most searches, but it's the leading
links that are mostl likely to be relevant.
It looks like we are lacking in the seals, but we do have springs.
All doors, both to the stairwell and to the individual rental units.
As for wedging doors open....sigh....not uncommon.
I'll certainly take that under advisement, but in this thread, I'm
just trying to address the original question (see my re-iteration
I think you're reading that into the post. It's not my intent. I'm
treating this as a case study (I'm an analyst in the day time). The
question being how does one determine whether there is contamination
to a level that would be of concern. I'm a bit programmed in my
analyst ways in that the info should be either be substantiated or
should have the nature of the source recorded so that a level of
credibility can be ascribed to it. This forms a credibility trail in
a final report. This is a personal question, so I'm not writing a
report, but the duly diligent way of vetting or characterizing
information is still a good one.
So it sounds like you're saying that unless it's visible, anything
coating the walls would not be at a harmful level?
On Sunday, September 28, 2014 2:30:16 PM UTC-4, Woodworm wrote:
I know, this is exasperating.
I would agree that your string of assumptions are plausible, and some
are actually quite likely. However, it is also be *very* reasonable
to assume that some of them would not actually be realized. Many
reasonable sounding things often do not happen, for any number of
reasons. The statement comparing the level of damage from smoke
damage to traffic pollution was made with a pronounced tone of
certainty, and for that reason, I thought you might have some specific
quantitative backing for it. Not having that is fine, but let's
accept that it is then a viewpoint, based on your assumptions above.
I may just do that. At this point, I'm seeing what substantiated
information can come from forums. Thanks. As for other occupants, I haven't asked. If you read my original post for the reason why I'm asking, I don't think asking other tenants would be appropriate.
Breaking the fire regulations then - or you are unable to identify a fire
If the smoke was that bad, and contaminated with the toxic gases that are
produced during the combustion of many household materials, they wouldn't
have got that far.
You are believing too much of what's on the web.
If you have followed the google saga for the last few years, you will find
that that is not really true of google.
Not assumptions, but from practical knowledge of evacuating people into
temporary accommodation after fire and flood damage. Seeing and repairing
fire damage along with the cleaning and redecorating etc.
Why not ask the tenants, if you consider that *YOUR* health may be in danger
wouldn't that be prudent and neighbourly to pass on your worries , or is it
simply that no one else thinks there is any danger to their health - or that
they know for a fact that the danger is non-existent?
Or perhaps there is some conflict berween neighbours underway?
Paranoia still comes to mind and I wonder why you actually use the stairs
for exercise if you are that frightened of the effects of a past fire -
surely the simple answer would be to take up jogging around the local park
to take in all that lovely fresh air - or is there an underlying
compensation motive for your questioning?
End of subject
On Tuesday, September 30, 2014 8:41:16 PM UTC-4, Woodworm wrote:
It has no strip. It's just wood. I can't describe this any simpler
I'm simply providing information found supporting certain assumptions.
I realize that information needs to be vetted, including postings
here. The information you just provided simply says that the other
information is false. I get that. In the end, I have to make a
judgement call on all of the information, depending on how credible it
appears and the amount of consensus that there appears to be.
Well, I try to keep on top of things. There are many factors that
affect how hits are compiled and ordered. But in general, the most
relevant are listed first. The fact that there are 11 million other
ones are not relevant. There could be 11 trillion for all that it
I appreciate that you're describing the basis for your statements.
I'm not sure how asking tenants will help, unless I just happen upon
someone with professional experience in the area.
While I appreciate your contribution to this thread, I would also
appreciate this thread being kept on topic. It is very reasonable to
ask contributors for the basis of their statements. As you indicated,
after all, it is the internet (or rather, usenet, which these days is
effectively just another forum accessible on the internet). So I fail
to see why you're deliberately trying to fabricate a highly dramatic
situation around the original question.
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