Fire Engulfs 42-Story Building

Risk Logic Inc. (RLI) is a consulting engineering company that provides Loss Prevention Services. Since 1997, we have been working in regions all over the world utilizing the most advanced and current standards.

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October 4th, 2022

On Friday, September 16th, a blaze ravaged a 42-floor high-rise office building in central China. Dozens of stories of the more than 656-foot building burned rapidly, sending thick smoke into the sky. The local fire and rescue center received a report of the fire at 3:48 pm. They dispatched a total 280 firefighters and 36 firefighting vehicles from 17 local stations to the scene.

42 story building on fire.

The high-rise fire was in the downtown area in the city of Changsha, the capital of central Hunan province. Changsha is the 17th most populous city in China with a population of over ten million. Witnesses reported the fire spread rapidly along the outer walls of the building. Videos of the blaze showed one side of the building scorched black, with debris falling to the ground. “Thick smoke billowed from the site, and dozens of floors burned ferociously,” CCTV reported. The fire was reportedly out by 5 pm a little more than an hour after the incident was first reported. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Scene of 42 story building prior to fire.

How can a fire spread to so many floors so fast? Combustible wall cladding (exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS) or insulated metal panels (IMPs) using expanded plastics) may have been a contributing factor in the rapid spread as it was for the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017. Grenfell Tower: What happened – BBC News

bird eye view of 42 story building that caught fire.

An NFPA report explains exterior wall systems have been developed to enhance building appearance and improve overall structure exterior, however many fast-moving fires involving cladding have occurred on high-rise buildings. NFPA has developed research and resources to help building owners and fire enforcement authorities assess the fire risk of existing high-rise building portfolios, as well as identify what fire test procedures to apply when designing new buildings.

Contact Risk Logic, Inc. to perform a full property loss prevention survey and to determine if there is a risk of exterior fire spread at your facility.