MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This Fire Hazards Analysis (FHA) was written using modern fire protection engineering principles to characterize the Applied Chemistry Management and Enrichment (ACME) Building at the Pacific Northwest National Research Area (PNNRA) using both a prescriptive-based and performance-based analysis to ensure the building and occupants can be safe in fire conditions. Recommendations are made as part of this analysis to improve the survivability of this structure if a fire were to occur.
This building was found to be compliant with the prescriptive code requirements from the 2018 International Building Code except for a few minor issues that are currently being repaired. The requirements from the international building code that were reviewed include but are not limited to the following: 1) Area and height specifications from Chapter five; 2) Fire rated construction from Chapter seven; 3) Interior finish requirements as found in Chapter eight; 4) Sprinkler and fire alarm stipulations as discussed in Chapter nine- review from the 2019 NFPA 13 for sprinkler systems and review from the 2019 NFPA 72 for fire alarms; 5) Means of egress designations as found in Chapter 10 that include but are not limited to: travel distance limitations, exit placement, emergency signage and lighting, corridor, door, and stairway sizing, and exit discharge; 6) Retroactive applicability from Chapter eleven of the 2018 International Fire Code was also reviewed.
The performance analysis portion of this report involved several design basis fires. These involved gasoline and diesel pool fires, vehicle fires, and workstation fires used to estimate the time for sprinkler activation, determine the time requirements for safe egress, and the capability of the building contents to resist fire spread. The main finding was that the west high bay location used for loading shipping trailers has the potential for serious consequences for fire spread if a truck fire were to occur and combustible storage was not adequately controlled. The sixty foot high ceilings require a significant fire to trigger sprinklers and the suppression will likely not control fire growth. The results from the remainder of the design basis fires show acceptable performance for the structure and occupants in fire conditions.
The ACME Building is acceptable for continued operations. With minor exceptions, it meets current code requirements. Personnel can safely egress if a worst-case fire scenario occurs. Recommendations include changes in the storage configuration in certain areas, minimization of the use of wood pallets and caution regarding the use of trucks that are parked within the facility during offloading.