There has been a great deal of discussion in the fire service about the challenges and hazards of responding to fires involving buildings of “new” or “modern” lightweight construction. At the same time, there are millions of “old”-style construction buildings out there that we need to remain prepared to respond to as well.
Some broad generalizations about the differences in these types of construction:
- Modern buildings may self-vent more quickly, as well as have a propensity to more rapidly fail/collapse when attacked by fire. It can become difficult in these buildings for firefighters to work from a position of relative safety for any amount of time during a fire incident.
- Buildings of older-style construction are likely to have more void spaces with minimal barrier to fire spread up walls and across floors, resulting in the potential for a great deal of hidden fire.