On June 19, 2007, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) sent four fire experts to Charleston, S.C., to gather information and examine the site of the previous night's fire and subsequent collapse of a furniture store/warehouse located near the city's historic district. Nine firefighters were killed in the collapse.
In Charleston, the NIST experts worked with local officials and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to learn more about the collapse. Based on that reconnaissance, NIST will decide if any additional study is appropriate.
NIST has more than 30 years of experience investigating building fire and structural failures. By understanding the technical causes leading to structural failures and then making that information public, NIST engineers and researchers strive to improve safety for buildings, their occupants and emergency responders.
For more information on NIST's building fire and structural failure investigations, go to www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/bfrlinvestigations.htm.