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Fire Conditions for Smoke Toxicity Measurement



Richard G. Gann, V Babrauskas, Richard D. Peacock, J R. Hall


This paper identifies those fire conditions most often present when smoke toxicity is the cause of death. It begins with a review of the evidence that smoke-inhalation deaths are in the majority in fire fatalities in the United States. Next, there is an analysis of the evidence from the national fire experience showing the connection between post-flashover fires and smoke-inhalation deaths. Third is a presentation of real-scale fire test results demonstrating that post-flashover conditions are necessary to produce enough smoke to cause smoke-inhalation deaths in the cases where they actually occur. The fourth component is a sampling of results from computer simulations of fires, affirming and broadening the results from the fire tests. It is concluded that smoke-inhalation deaths occur predominantly after fires have progressed beyond flashover. This conclusion then provides a focus for smoke toxicity measurement in particular and fire hazard mitigation in general.
Fire and Materials
No. 3


smoke, toxicity, smoke inhalation, fire tests, predictive models, computer simulation, fire incidence, computer models


Gann, R. , Babrauskas, V. , Peacock, R. and Hall, J. (1994), Fire Conditions for Smoke Toxicity Measurement, Fire and Materials, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


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Created May 1, 1994, Updated February 19, 2017