Occupant response during a residential highrise fire

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Journal titleFire and Materials
IssueNov-Dec. 6
Pages317323; # of pages: 7
SubjectHuman behaviour
AbstractOn 31 January 1997, a fire occurred in a 25-storey highrise apartment building located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The building contains 296 condominium apartments which were occupied mainly by senior citizens. The fire, which started at 4:30 p.m. in an apartment on the 6th Floor, rapidly burned through the apartment corridor door and spread into the corridor. The fire department arrived promptly on location and extinguished the fire within 10 minutes of the notification call. On the orders of the fire department, a live announcement was issued, from the building voice communication system, advising all residents to evacuate the building immediately. Many occupants (83%) attempted to evacuate while some (17%) decided to stay in their apartments and initiate protect-in-place activities. During their evacuation, all occupants above the fire floor encountered smoke conditions. Only 54% who attempted to evacuate managed to escape. The others had to return to their apartment (25%) or seek refuge (21%) in a neighbour's apartment. Four of the evacuees had to be treated for smoke inhalation; two seniors suffered heart attacks and one of them died 10 days after the fire. A second person from the apartment of fire origin died 2 months later. This paper discusses the occupants' response and their actions during this fire.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number43149
NPARC number20331253
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Record identifier8639281b-1269-4e00-83ab-5ba66e5856bb
Record created2012-07-18
Record modified2016-05-09
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