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Simulation of the Dynamics of a Fire in the Basement of a Hardware Store - New York, June 17, 2001.

pdf icon Simulation of the Dynamics of a Fire in the Basement of a Hardware Store - New York, June 17, 2001. (3454 K)
Bryner, N. P.; Kerber, S.

NISTIR 7137; 57 p. May 2004.


building fires; simulation; computational fluid dynamics; fire dynamics; fire fighters; fire fatalities; fire investigations; fire models; vents; material properties; temperature; oxygen concentration; fire doors


This report describes the results of computer model calculations to provide insight on the thermal conditions that may have occurred during a fire in a basement of a hardware store on June 17, 2001, in Queens, New York. These calculations were performed using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS). A FDS model scenario was developed that represented the building geometry, material thermal properties, and fire behavior based on information and photographs either gathered at the fire scene or provided by the Fire Department of New York and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The results from this model scenario are provided in this report. The FDS (version 2.0) calculations that best represent the reported fire conditions indicate that a fire initially between 500 kW and 2000 kW originating near the rear basement door of the hardware store would have generated temperatures sufficient to cause the fusible link to release the fire door in less than 130 s. The oxygen concentration profiles suggest that a 2000 kW fire with the fire door closed could have depleted the oxygen in Unit 20 in less than 380 s. A 2000 kW fire with the fire door open would have required more time, approximately 650 s, in order to deplete the oxygen in Unit 20 and 22. This limited set of fire reconstructions included 500 kW, 1000 kW, and 2000 kW initiating fires in scenarios that allowed the fire door to close and in cases where the fire door remained open. This range of 500 kW to 2000 kW corresponds to approximately 4% to 18% of the organics solvents becoming involved in the fire.