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Simulation of the Dynamics of a Fire in a Two-Story Duplex, Iowa, December 22, 1999.

pdf icon Simulation of the Dynamics of a Fire in a Two-Story Duplex, Iowa, December 22, 1999. (1515 K)
Madrzykowski, D.; Forney, G. P.; Walton, W. D.

NISTIR 6854; 28 p. January 2002.

Available from:

National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA 22161.
Telephone: 1-800-553-6847 or 703-605-6000;
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Order number: PB2002-102135


computational fluid dynamics; fire models; computer models; fire dynamics; fire fatalities; fire fighters; fire investigations; flashover; ventilation


This report describes the results of calculations using the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) that were performed to provide insight on the thermal conditions that may have occurred during a fire in a two-story duplex house on December 22, 1999, in Iowa. Input to the computer model was developed from 3 sources; investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), investigators with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and from material properties taken from the FDS database. An FDS model scenario was developed that best represented the actual building geometry, material thermal properties, and fire behavior based on information and photographs from ATF. The results from this model scenario are provided with this report. The FDS calculations that best represent the reported fire conditions indicate that a fire originating on the kitchen stove spread through the house resulting in flames that engulfed the stairwell to the second floor within approximately 9 min from the start of flaming ignition on the stove. The critical event in this fire was the on-set of flashover conditions in the kitchen. Within 60 s after the flashover occurred in the kitchen, the flames had spread through the dining room, living room and up the stairway.