Former Johnsonia residents seeking re...
American

Gardner, MA

#42 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
It was so small it didn't set off the smoke detector. But within 15 min after going off the whole top of the building was sending flames 100 feet in the air. Sorry I am not a not a rocket scientist?
It was that long? Usually once a smoke detector is activated the building will burn within a couple of minutes, it is too late, a fire in the wall spreads upward into an attic. This is called balloon frame construction.

So it was burning undetected, smoke concealed and not reaching a detector for some time. Maybe an hour or more. Odor of smoke now reaching the residents. The fire finally broke through into the attic and grew tremendously due to the extra available open air in the attic that will feed the fire. Finally the detector activated but it is too late. Most likely a concealed fire burning for an hour or more.

Hey you are learning. Good job.

The odor of smoke is noticeable long before a fire is detected, located or activates the alarm system.
Civil Servant Supporter

Gardner, MA

#43 Jul 10, 2013
American wrote:
<quoted text>
It was that long? Usually once a smoke detector is activated the building will burn within a couple of minutes, it is too late, a fire in the wall spreads upward into an attic. This is called balloon frame construction.
So it was burning undetected, smoke concealed and not reaching a detector for some time. Maybe an hour or more. Odor of smoke now reaching the residents. The fire finally broke through into the attic and grew tremendously due to the extra available open air in the attic that will feed the fire. Finally the detector activated but it is too late. Most likely a concealed fire burning for an hour or more.
Hey you are learning. Good job.
The odor of smoke is noticeable long before a fire is detected, located or activates the alarm system.
So the fire report said the fire started in the attic from a light socket not in the wall. Matt smelled smoke came out looked up and saw the flames through the sky lights and got everybody out.(Great Job Matt) Fire in attic with flames and no smoke alarms going off. Still don't understand. sorry the attic had more than one smoke alarm. Look up your fire codes for a building that size.
American

Gardner, MA

#44 Jul 10, 2013
Hmmmm wrote:
<quoted text>Very astute of you. An apartment building burned down and you have come to the conclusion that people with questions are renters and not home owners. I like that.
Most homeowners will have a chimney fire or a delayed ignition not just once but maybe a few times.

A chimney fire is when the creosote builds up behind the flue and will sooner or later break thru into the walls around the chimney.

Odor of smoke is present but detectors will not activate because it is not VISIBLE smoke that is needed to penetrate the smoke detector and block the detector's internal light beam to activate it.

Codes now require more sensitive detectors to be installed when a home is built, being sold or renovated than having them rely on a broken beam activated process which is slower.

A homeowner knows to NOT wait for a detector activation if he smells a strong odor of smoke but to open up and tear down the walls around the chimney to extinguish the fire before it gets into the attic space. If they don't then they will lose their house to a fire because it only takes a couple of minutes for the fire to spread.

A delayed ignition is when the homeowner does not clean their furnace every year and when the furnace tries to "turn on" and there isn't a full ignition of the fuel (oil).

So there is the buildup of sludge from the residue of the oil from a year without being cleaned and that is ignited and can break thru from the furnace and into the basement area. The fire will grow and consume combustible material and walls and ceilings only seconds or a few minutes at the most before a detector is activated.

Usually it is too late or hopefully the "furnace sludge fire" stayed contained in the furnace or burned itself out because of lack of air since it didn't break thru to the exterior of the furnace.

A homeowner knows to immediately turn off that red plated emergency "light" switch that is required by code to be installed at the top of a stairwell leading to the furnace area or the red plated switch located on the furnace itself. Why, because a homeowner knows what the odor of a delayed ignition is before a detector is activated. The switch turns off the igniter in the furnace NOT a light.

So yes, most homeowners have better knowledge of fires and how they spread and how they are detected.

Most renters do not and figure they don't need to know because it isn't their building but the landlords.
Civil Servant Supporter

Gardner, MA

#45 Jul 10, 2013
American wrote:
<quoted text>
Most homeowners will have a chimney fire or a delayed ignition not just once but maybe a few times.
A chimney fire is when the creosote builds up behind the flue and will sooner or later break thru into the walls around the chimney.
Odor of smoke is present but detectors will not activate because it is not VISIBLE smoke that is needed to penetrate the smoke detector and block the detector's internal light beam to activate it.
Codes now require more sensitive detectors to be installed when a home is built, being sold or renovated than having them rely on a broken beam activated process which is slower.
A homeowner knows to NOT wait for a detector activation if he smells a strong odor of smoke but to open up and tear down the walls around the chimney to extinguish the fire before it gets into the attic space. If they don't then they will lose their house to a fire because it only takes a couple of minutes for the fire to spread.
A delayed ignition is when the homeowner does not clean their furnace every year and when the furnace tries to "turn on" and there isn't a full ignition of the fuel (oil).
So there is the buildup of sludge from the residue of the oil from a year without being cleaned and that is ignited and can break thru from the furnace and into the basement area. The fire will grow and consume combustible material and walls and ceilings only seconds or a few minutes at the most before a detector is activated.
Usually it is too late or hopefully the "furnace sludge fire" stayed contained in the furnace or burned itself out because of lack of air since it didn't break thru to the exterior of the furnace.
A homeowner knows to immediately turn off that red plated emergency "light" switch that is required by code to be installed at the top of a stairwell leading to the furnace area or the red plated switch located on the furnace itself. Why, because a homeowner knows what the odor of a delayed ignition is before a detector is activated. The switch turns off the igniter in the furnace NOT a light.
So yes, most homeowners have better knowledge of fires and how they spread and how they are detected.
Most renters do not and figure they don't need to know because it isn't their building but the landlords.
Ok BUT this fire started from a light socket
Jtn

Gardner, MA

#46 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
Just a lot of questions left unanswered.......4.1 million to walk away with is a lot smiling all the way to the bank
call the FSU police in and Columbo
Just Facts

United States

#47 Jul 10, 2013
American,

The smoke detector requirement for residential structures have changed over time, but the current code requires two different types of detection: Photoelectric, which uses a light-scattering principal as you have previously stated, and Ionization, which uses a minor amount of radioactive isotope. Both types of detection have a chamber that a sampling of the smoke particals need to reach, but both use many of the same principals, they are just more sensitive to different sized particals. Ionization is much more prone to nuisance alarms, which is why they are not installed within 20 feet of bathrooms or kitchens.

Detection is typically required inside each bedroom, immediately outside of the bedrooms, and on each level of a multi-level building.

That building being older, may have been grandfathered in and may not have had those levels of protection, so it is difficult to say what happened. The fire investigators ruled it to be a fire not caused by arson, so that is the main point.

It is sad that people lost their belongings and have questioned unanswered, but it is what it is.

Fires are a very complex science, but your descriptions regarding a possible scenario are pretty good.
Hmmmm

Leominster, MA

#48 Jul 10, 2013
Creosote is not the only problem in Chimneys. When I was a kid I'd work for a chimney sweep on Sundays and you wouldn't believe the number of squirrels, bats and birds we would bag. The animals would nest or get stuck in the chimney and then you start a fire and the dead animal burns and that gets the creosote going.

Electrical fires do happen often. Unfortunately mice, squirrels etc. are attracted to the elictrical frequency in the wiring and like to chew thru the wire creating a spark. In older buildings sometimes that's all it takes.

Asbestos was used as a Fire retardent, insulation, siding, brake discs and many other products until the people working with it started getting cancer. It's fine if you don't disturb it but if you do like say try and unwrap an old pipe it's airborn and dangerous.
Civil Servant Supporter

Gardner, MA

#49 Jul 10, 2013
2 + 2 = 4.1 Million
American

Gardner, MA

#50 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
<quoted text>
So the fire report said the fire started in the attic from a light socket not in the wall. Matt smelled smoke came out looked up and saw the flames through the sky lights and got everybody out.(Great Job Matt) Fire in attic with flames and no smoke alarms going off. Still don't understand. sorry the attic had more than one smoke alarm. Look up your fire codes for a building that size.
It’s very simple, an odor of smoke is not actual smoke. The odor does not activate a detector.

Only one detector is needed in an "open" attic space. If the attic was separated into sections by walls then a detector will be needed in each "compartment". The building may also have been “grandfathered” under the fire codes that was in place at the time of it’s renovation.

Usually a smoke detector in an attic is mounted on a cross beam maybe 3-6 ft. above the attic floor stretching across the open space from wall to wall. An attic light fixture is usually mounted in the same manner.

They are not mounted on the actual underside of the roof itself. So a light fixture burns, smoke and fire RISES ABOVE the smoke detector since we know hot smoke and fire will not drop below the detector “YET”.

The fire and smoke reach the underside interior of the roof which can be another 20 ft. higher than the beam/rafter with the mounted detector in a building that large. This could take an hour or several hours as the fire and smoke grows larger.

Once the fire reaches the roof it is only a matter of minutes and maybe even seconds and the roof will be gone in flames. The heat and smoke cools and starts to bank back down and finally activates the detector in the attic.

As a fire grows and consumes fuel, it begins to change the environment within the structure (the building and contents) and generates heat, smoke, and gases that rise and begin to increase the internal pressure within the structure. The heat, smoke, and gases confined within that structure bank back down into the structure, creating the mushroom effect and a flashover condition.

http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print...

Here is your smoke detector information:

http://firemarshals.org/rfsi/smokealarmfacts....
Hmmmm

Leominster, MA

#51 Jul 10, 2013
Just Facts wrote:
American,
The smoke detector requirement for residential structures have changed over time, but the current code requires two different types of detection: Photoelectric, which uses a light-scattering principal as you have previously stated, and Ionization, which uses a minor amount of radioactive isotope. Both types of detection have a chamber that a sampling of the smoke particals need to reach, but both use many of the same principals, they are just more sensitive to different sized particals. Ionization is much more prone to nuisance alarms, which is why they are not installed within 20 feet of bathrooms or kitchens.
Detection is typically required inside each bedroom, immediately outside of the bedrooms, and on each level of a multi-level building.
That building being older, may have been grandfathered in and may not have had those levels of protection, so it is difficult to say what happened. The fire investigators ruled it to be a fire not caused by arson, so that is the main point.
It is sad that people lost their belongings and have questioned unanswered, but it is what it is.
Fires are a very complex science, but your descriptions regarding a possible scenario are pretty good.
You are not exactly correct. I own some properties and every towns inspector has different pet pieves as do Insurance companies. For instance during my last inspection in a couple Apt. buildings in Leominster that I have owned for years on top of hard wired battery back up detectors CO2 because they have more than 3 apts. I had to install emergency Exit lighting and fire extinguishers on the porches. Every town is a little different.

You also have to remember that sometimes if a tenant is cooking alot and they are not a good cook if their alarm goes off every alarm goes off so they sometimes pull them out of the ceiling and disconnect them.
Civil Servant Supporter

Gardner, MA

#52 Jul 10, 2013
Then How did Matt smell it on the other side of the building in his condo one floor down came out and saw the flames and still no alarms went off. Just don't make sense but hey what do I know, its just what people who lived there have reported.
American

Gardner, MA

#53 Jul 10, 2013
Hmmmm wrote:
<quoted text>You are not exactly correct. I own some properties and every towns inspector has different pet pieves as do Insurance companies. For instance during my last inspection in a couple Apt. buildings in Leominster that I have owned for years on top of hard wired battery back up detectors CO2 because they have more than 3 apts. I had to install emergency Exit lighting and fire extinguishers on the porches. Every town is a little different.
You also have to remember that sometimes if a tenant is cooking alot and they are not a good cook if their alarm goes off every alarm goes off so they sometimes pull them out of the ceiling and disconnect them.
Many buildings are grandfathered under the fire codes at the time they were built.

If they are renovated or sold the building will have to meet the newest regulations. This is a STATE law and cities and towns cannot ignore it or have their own laws.

The current laws require photoelectric detectors or a combination photoelectric/ionization detector. A new home, renovated or being sold cannot have just ionization detectors any longer. But they can if they are built prior to the new regulation and are not being sold today.

To keep it simple not all buildings have to meet the same requirements of the current regulations. It depends on the time the building was built or the time if it was renovated or the time it was sold.

There are still many old "grandfathered" buildings that do not require smoke detectors in the attic or basement.

You are also correct, maybe a smoke detector was unplugged where the fire was started or near it. This can be due to the detector being a nuisance when someone is cooking, needs a new backup battery or needs to be replaced completely because they only have a 5 year service life now.
American

Gardner, MA

#54 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
Then How did Matt smell it on the other side of the building in his condo one floor down came out and saw the flames and still no alarms went off. Just don't make sense but hey what do I know, its just what people who lived there have reported.
No smoke detector nearby? Smoke detector did not operate or malfunctioned?

Remember the Highland Ave. fire? College students woke up to a smoke detector activated but there was no smoke. They could smell the odor of smoke so they opened their windows allowing more air into the building, turned off the detectors and went back to bed.

Obviously the fire grew and it was too late, 30 minutes later. By the time someone saw flames coming from the roof and top floors the fire department could do nothing to save it.
Civil Servant Supporter

Gardner, MA

#55 Jul 10, 2013
American wrote:
<quoted text>
Many buildings are grandfathered under the fire codes at the time they were built.
If they are renovated or sold the building will have to meet the newest regulations. This is a STATE law and cities and towns cannot ignore it or have their own laws.
The current laws require photoelectric detectors or a combination photoelectric/ionization detector. A new home, renovated or being sold cannot have just ionization detectors any longer. But they can if they are built prior to the new regulation and are not being sold today.
To keep it simple not all buildings have to meet the same requirements of the current regulations. It depends on the time the building was built or the time if it was renovated or the time it was sold.
There are still many old "grandfathered" buildings that do not require smoke detectors in the attic or basement.
You are also correct, maybe a smoke detector was unplugged where the fire was started or near it. This can be due to the detector being a nuisance when someone is cooking, needs a new backup battery or needs to be replaced completely because they only have a 5 year service life now.
But didn't Clark receive a grant to fix and restore the building if so the Grandfather clause does not apply. I not saying anything that the people who lived there have not said. What about the businesses on the first floor? The coin guy was not allowed to get his safes out but clark got his stuff out.....
Civil Servant Supporter

Gardner, MA

#56 Jul 10, 2013
American wrote:
<quoted text>
Many buildings are grandfathered under the fire codes at the time they were built.
If they are renovated or sold the building will have to meet the newest regulations. This is a STATE law and cities and towns cannot ignore it or have their own laws.
The current laws require photoelectric detectors or a combination photoelectric/ionization detector. A new home, renovated or being sold cannot have just ionization detectors any longer. But they can if they are built prior to the new regulation and are not being sold today.
To keep it simple not all buildings have to meet the same requirements of the current regulations. It depends on the time the building was built or the time if it was renovated or the time it was sold.
There are still many old "grandfathered" buildings that do not require smoke detectors in the attic or basement.
You are also correct, maybe a smoke detector was unplugged where the fire was started or near it. This can be due to the detector being a nuisance when someone is cooking, needs a new backup battery or needs to be replaced completely because they only have a 5 year service life now.
I would love to know who was cooking in the attic and unplugged the smoke alarm WOW that was a very smart comment now I know why you know everything.........
Just Facts

United States

#57 Jul 10, 2013
Hmmmm wrote:
<quoted text>You are not exactly correct. I own some properties and every towns inspector has different pet pieves as do Insurance companies. For instance during my last inspection in a couple Apt. buildings in Leominster that I have owned for years on top of hard wired battery back up detectors CO2 because they have more than 3 apts. I had to install emergency Exit lighting and fire extinguishers on the porches. Every town is a little different.
You also have to remember that sometimes if a tenant is cooking alot and they are not a good cook if their alarm goes off every alarm goes off so they sometimes pull them out of the ceiling and disconnect them.
Hmmmm,

The town inspectors may have Pet Pieves, but the Massachusetts Smoke Detector Law is statewide and is supposed to be enforced by all towns. http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/o...

The smoke detector requirements increase during various years and can be imposed on a residential building if it is sold or renovated, but unless it changes hands or is renovated, the law doesn't provide for an inspector to enforce newer codes retroactively.

The carbon monoxide law is a different law and is also newer. It doesn't allow a building an exemption for grandfathering like other laws and Carbon Monoxide detection is required in all residential occupancies retroactively.

Fire extinguisher and exit light requirements have nothing to do with smoke detection laws and wasn't the subject of my posting, so it is you that is incorrect.
If a local inspector chooses not to enforce the law, that is another issue completely, and the removal of smoke detection by a tenant also isn't part of the smoke detector laws either.
American

Gardner, MA

#58 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
<quoted text>
But didn't Clark receive a grant to fix and restore the building if so the Grandfather clause does not apply. I not saying anything that the people who lived there have not said. What about the businesses on the first floor? The coin guy was not allowed to get his safes out but clark got his stuff out.....
When was the building renovated? I knew people who rented apartments there 15 years before the fire?

But the actual moral of the story is why make allegations or accusations that can never be proven?

No one is going to say they started the fire even if they did.

There building is gone and so is any evidence that would be needed for a prosecution.

So why waste your time, there is nothing that can be done.
American

Gardner, MA

#59 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
2 + 2 = 4.1 Million
$2 million to pay for public safety overtime expense and to remove the asbestos and raze the building.

$2 million to pay off all outstanding loans and taxes on the building.

4.1 - 2 - 2 =.1
American

Gardner, MA

#60 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
<quoted text>
I would love to know who was cooking in the attic and unplugged the smoke alarm WOW that was a very smart comment now I know why you know everything.........
I don't unplug my detector in the kitchen but do what everyone else does and cover it up with an elastic banded shower cap.

Maybe the detector in the attic did not work?

You will never know, it is what it is.
American

Gardner, MA

#61 Jul 10, 2013
Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
<quoted text>
But didn't Clark receive a grant to fix and restore the building if so the Grandfather clause does not apply. I not saying anything that the people who lived there have not said. What about the businesses on the first floor? The coin guy was not allowed to get his safes out but clark got his stuff out.....
Clark also snuck in during the night and removed his items without anyone knowing about it.

He couldn't let anyone in because he was under a Mass DEP warning not to let anyone in.

If he did let someone in and they were injured then they could have a lawsuit against him. He did not care if he was injured because who would sue him?

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