FDNY Conducts "Live Burn" on Governors Island

The controlled fires will help firefighters learn the best way to fight modern-day blazes, since the material in furniture has changed over the decades

Tuesday, Jul 3, 2012  |  Updated 6:37 AM EDT
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Starting Monday, the FDNY will be setting fires to figure out the best way to fight them.

The six days of experiments -- a series of controlled fires in vacant residential buildings on Governors Island -- will help firefighters figure out the best way to battle modern-day blazes, since the material in furniture and mattresses has changed in the decades since the FDNY developed its tactics.

"As construction has changed in recent years, as well as the type of materials that are used in home furnishings, we have experienced fires that burn faster and reach high temperatures more quickly," said Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano.

"And while we’ve adjusted how we operate, the purpose of these studies is both to validate what we’ve informally observed and to guide us in developing new operational procedures that will better protect firefighters as they encounter these new realities," Cassano said.

In the past, most home furnishings were made of natural materials, such as wood and cotton. Now, furniture contains large quantities of synthetic materials which burn faster and hotter.

The tests will examine ventilation techniques and how they affect the movement of fire, smoke and dangerous gases. The experiments, which started Monday, are being conducted with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other groups.

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