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Indianapolis Athletic Club Fire-Key Issues

Casualties Two firefighters and one civilian died; four firefighters were seriously injured.
Fire Origin Electrical malfunction in or near a refrigerator in bar on third floor.
Structure Nine-story mixed use 70-year-old building, no sprinklers.
Interior Finishes Highly combustible interior finish fueled the rapid spread of the fire.
Standpipes Incompatible threads and lack of hose outlets for fire department use on the occupant use standpipe hose system hampered fire department attack.
Concealed Spaces Overhead noncombustible concealed spaces allowed products of combustion to accumulate above the ceiling. The fire spread rapidly when these gases ignited.
Unenclosed Stairways Unenclosed and unprotected stairways provided an ideal avenue of vertical fire and smoke spread, permitting the fire to
involve a significant portion of the floor above the fire.
Confusing Exit Arrangement Confusing exit arrangement and extensive upward smoke migration via the stairways may have contributed the loss of one
civilian life.
Mechanical System Control Smoke detection was not provided to shut down air handling systems; this contributed to smoke transport throughout the building.
Fire Detection and Suppression Systems
Only partial smoke detection was provided in the building. The nearest smoke detector to the room of origin, in the elevator lobby, was not connected to the building fire alarm system.
Automatic sprinklers were not provided.


Revolving doors appeared to impede firefighter access and the deployment of a back-up hoseline.
Fire Department Tactics The lack of standard operating procedures for buildings with standpipes and/or a pre-fire plan for the specific building may have compromised efforts to control the fire.
Communications Equipment One firefighter was seriously burned attempting to activate the emergency notification button on his portable radio.
Communications Systems Problems in communication between the Incident Commander and the Communications Center may be related to the activation of a new radio system shortly before the incident. Additional training should have been conducted.

 

 
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