Analyzing the Impact of Ventilation on Fire Damage Patterns in Full-Scale Structures
The focus is on residential fires, which tend to be ventilation limited. Understanding ventilation-limited fires aids fire investigators in analyzing fire patterns and locating the area of origin. When and where the fire receives oxygen-laden fresh air impacts the fire dynamics and subsequent fire patterns. Attendees are presented with the results of a series of full-scale house experiments that examined the impact changes in ventilation had on the fire patterns. The test structures included a 1,200-sq.-ft. one-story ranch structure and a 3,200-sq.-ft. two-story colonial, which had an open floor plan with a two-story family room and an open foyer. The test scenarios ranged from fires in the structures with no exterior ventilation to room fires with flow paths that connected the fires with remote intake and exhaust vents throughout the structures. Elevated fires originating in the kitchens were also examined. The “after” photos are shown to the attendees first; they will “examine” the scene and develop a hypothesis prior to seeing how the experiment was conducted. Photos, data, videos, and fire-flow graphics from the experiments are used to explain the fire dynamics.