The risk of towering infernos: Supertall buildings proliferating in NYC create serious fire dangers

Retired FDNY Deputy Chief Thomas Dunne discusses some of the dangers that come from the spate of new high-rises in New York City in the New York Daily News. Some of his observations are quoted below.

“A fire in a high-rise building is a special kind of animal. As a deputy chief with the New York City Fire Department, I had to overcome a number of challenges even when faced with a normal high-rise building.

Whenever the fire was on an upper floor, it was far more difficult to get firefighters up to the location of the fire and more challenging to remove or protect the building residents. Communications were often difficult and the logistical problems of providing an adequate supply of water and fresh personnel were more taxing.”

“Of course, building height is also a factor in determining how long it would take for residents to evacuate. Post-9/11 studies of the World Trade Center tragedy indicate that it took up to a minute per floor for survivors to walk down the stairs and reach the street level. If you do the math, you can get a sense of how long it could take to get all the occupants of a supertall building to safety, or possibly how much time it might be before rescue personnel get access to a fire on an upper floor.

To those who would argue that such scenarios are unlikely, I would counter that the lessons of 9/11 are too soon forgotten. We must consider worst-case scenarios and be prepared to handle them. And a worst-case scenario in an ultra-high building would present enormous challenges, and dangers, for our firefighters.”

This entry was posted in 9/11 Community, General. Bookmark the permalink.
  • One World Observatory

    Learn more about the One World Observatory complimentary ticket program.

  • Categories

  • From the Newsletter

  • Upcoming Events

    1. Brick paver fundraiser to build a fountain at the Middletown World Trade Center Memorial Garden

      February 11 @ 8:00 am - April 30 @ 5:00 pm
    2. Remember those who have died of COVID-19

      March 4 @ 8:00 am - May 31 @ 5:00 pm
    3. Sign up to read names at FDNY 343 Memorial Club September 11th Memorial Ceremony, Summerfield, FL

      March 17 @ 8:00 am - July 1 @ 5:00 pm
    4. Fight Sarcoidosis with Virtual Steps for Sarc

      April 1 @ 8:00 am - April 30 @ 5:00 pm
    5. Arlington Historical Society 9/11 Essay Contest for Grades 8-12

      April 8 @ 8:00 am - May 21 @ 5:00 pm