Dozens of firefighters throughout the region gathered in Delaware County to watch and learn how a structure burns, in hopes of using the research to help them combat basement blazes.
Philadelphia’s finest were among them in hopes of gaining new insight.
Trained fire researchers carefully crafted a two-story house, only to burn it down.
“What we hope to gain with every burn is a better understanding of how fires behave in enclosed, below ground spaces,” explained Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.
In 2014, Philadelphia firefighter Lt. Joyce Craig died while being trapped inside a row house basement.
“Joyce Craig’s death was unfortunately one of many that we’ve seen,” said Thiel.
He says this exercise, known as a “burn,” will help to figure out how best to fight basement blazes, using 200 heat sensors inside the structure.
“That actually allows us to see almost in real-time what’s happening to the fire, what the fire is doing, what the heat and smoke and toxic gases are doing throughout the structure,” Thiel said. “We change particular variables: open this window, close that window. Open this door, close that door.”
Once the data is complete, a guidebook and video will be available to firefighting departments across the country.