Hotel Vendome Fire and Collapse Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The organization mainly focused on analyzing the history of the construction of the building by examining its two main sections, floors, and walls.

Cause of the Collapse:

Following its extensive and detailed investigations, Walter J. Hickey Associates, Inc. presented a report on the possible cause for the collapse of the hotel. After making computations, it was discovered that the load on the cast iron column from the dead load alone was approximately 200,000 pounds in consideration of a minimal allowance for the corbelling action. However, a study revealed that the arching or corbelling effect of the C-Line Wall was only of slight importance. Due to the load, the bearing stress on the wall was estimated at around 7 to 8 times the permissible stress for a wall of good grade brick that has a good line cement mortar ("Investigation of Collapse," p. 45).

While the bearing stress at the opening side was already high, it was greatly intensified and getting to a critical stage as the opening for the air intake duct occurred through the wall. Notably, the computerization of the stresses didn't include the consideration of any live load. The addition of even a minor live load or small moving load could result in or trigger the possible failure through crushing of the masonry in the opening side area. This would in turn cause the column base plate to tilt, column displacement, and the total loss of support. The possible loss of support could be caused by the same effect because of the weakening of mortar following saturation with water. Nonetheless, this is possible in the case of lime cement mortar and saturated situation in the wall.

The investigation into the collapse of the building concluded that the incident started after the loss of support by the 7-inch meter diameter column. This resulted in the failure of the third to fifth story masonry walls along the C-Line. The joists along the a-line and E-Line were pulled from the wall pockets as the floor sections along the C-Line lost support. In contrast, the floors along the C-Line walls exerted very minimal thrust against the E-Line wall to an extent that they started to mount up together with the falling debris in a mass underneath the third story of the building. The vertical collapse of the upper portion of the building was caused by the pushing out of the lower portion of the E-Line wall by the extreme ends of the floor sections. Line 3 Wall at Dartmouth Street partially collapsed as a quick follow up of the collapse of the E-Line wall.

Lessons from the Incident:

Hotel Vendome Fire and Collapse has resulted in some significant lessons in the building and construction industry. As this industry continues to be characterized with an increase in structural collapses, developed construction techniques, and lightweight construction materials, lessons from the Vendome fire have a great significance (Fire Rescue Magazine, par, 8). Some of the major points learnt from the tragedy include the need to understand the risk of a building damaged by fire and regular checks for signs of possible collapses.

Conclusion:

Hotel Vendome Fire and Collapse is one of the major significant fires to occur in the history of the United States. This incident not only had damaging impacts on the local fire department but it also has significant lessons for the building and construction industry in relation to avoiding such events in the future.

Works Cited:

CROMBIE, EDWARD. "Significant Fires - the Vendome Hotel Fire." Hooks & Irons. EDWARD CROMBIE, 11 June 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. .

Fire Rescue Magazine. "Hotel Vendome: Remembering the Worst Firefighting Tragedy in Boston's History - My Firefighter Nation." My Firefighter Nation. Firefighter Nation, 17 June 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. .

"Investigation of Collapse at the Hotel Vendome." Internet Archive. USA Government Documents. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. .

"Learning the Lessons from the Past." The Company Officer. Elsevier Public…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited:

CROMBIE, EDWARD. "Significant Fires - the Vendome Hotel Fire." Hooks & Irons. EDWARD CROMBIE, 11 June 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. .

Fire Rescue Magazine. "Hotel Vendome: Remembering the Worst Firefighting Tragedy in Boston's History - My Firefighter Nation." My Firefighter Nation. Firefighter Nation, 17 June 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://my.firefighternation.com/profiles/blogs/hotel-vendome-remembering-the>.

"Investigation of Collapse at the Hotel Vendome." Internet Archive. USA Government Documents. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. .

"Learning the Lessons from the Past." The Company Officer. Elsevier Public Safety and Hosted Bloggers. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. .

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