When Fire Strikes

There was a fire last week at the Little Italy Florist. The front facade was not badly damaged. Most of the fire seemed to have been in the rear part of the building. The “baloon frame” construction popular around 1910, when many of the houses of the area were built, is readily visible. Long studs — 16′ — stretched from the foundation up two floors, without any fire stops or sills at the second floor. Today a two storey house is more likely to built with 8-10′ studs on a platform (floor level) then a sill and platform built for the second floor, another set of 8-10′ studs, etc., compartmentalizing the floors.

The baloon studs make for easy retrofitting of insulation, running new electrical conduits, etc but they also facilitate the spread of fire.