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View Full Version : Fire in Haunted House...Kudos



drfrightner
11-19-2007, 01:40 PM
A fire occured in Fright World haunted house, one of Hauntworld.com's top 13 from a year ago. This could have happened to anyone, and from the sounds of the article the fire department gave Fright World kudo's on how well the handled the problem.

I think maybe an article on how to handle such an event is in order.

Read the article here...

http://www.cheektowagatimes.com/news/2007/1025/front_page/001.html

Larry

Nightmaretony
11-19-2007, 02:19 PM
Agreed. The more we can learn from potential disasters and the handling of them is good educational.

robos99
11-19-2007, 03:01 PM
Sounds like the situation was well managed and certainly could have been worse. But one thing stood out to me. The fire department commented on the amount of "theatrical smoke" in the attraction. I'm sure a lot of people make heavy use of fog machines in their haunts. Has anyone ever setup an emergency ventillation fan to suck out all the smoke from specific areas in the event of a fire alarm activation?

I could also see how a large amount of "fog" could create problems when evacuating people. Although it's not as hazardous to breath as real smoke, it can cause the same visiblity problems.

Jast223
11-19-2007, 03:19 PM
Im glad to hear that everyone made it out and was able to go back in and finish the night. This is a true story on how proper training, Drills, and teamwork go together. There is one concern that I have. In the house that I work for, we have we have a control room for the whole house and inside that control room we have an Emergency Stop Button for all the music and Effects inside the house. Also in our house each actor has to check the scene before and after his or her scene to ensure that everyone is out and then that actor then also exits. But hey that is my house not that house. GOOD JOB to the Employees that tried to fight the fire. And I mean GOOD JOB.

Jast223
11-19-2007, 03:27 PM
"Has anyone ever setup an emergency ventilation fan to suck out all the smoke from specific areas in the event of a fire alarm activation?

I could also see how a large amount of "fog" could create problems when evacuating people. Although it's not as hazardous to breath as real smoke, it can cause the same visibility problems."

agreed a ventilation fan system can be a good idea but not all locations can let u get away with that. Also maybe have a circuit dedicated to smoke machines that has a switched relay that you can turn them all off from one location. Not is it only convient when closing for the night but if there is a fire you can turn off all the smoke machines at once letting the smoke clear naturally.

Greg Chrise
11-19-2007, 05:10 PM
Our haunt is used as a training facility for fire fighters. So this is my only information on why things are done a certain way. In any home fire there is zero vsibility anyhow, rooms might be laid out somewhat more predictable. The fire fighters in small groups crawl along the floor with tools and powered up hoses doing a search and rescue by feel alone as they are blind folded, wearing full masks and gear trying to keep in contact with each other by touch, for this excersise. All sorts of furniture is intentionally piled up in the path ways that they must contend with going in and coming out, dragging the victim of some injury or smoke inhalation out. They use the hose itself and what ever tools they brought to facilitate different scenarios.

Forced ventilation would feed the fire and cause the fire to flash hotter and consume more than not having ventilation. Or if there is to be ventilation it is small via holes axed into the roof rather than like opening a main side door to get rid of smoke. Not untill the majority of the fire is under control.

It is very easy to know what circuits power the haunt, mark them so anyone can identify them and shut them down in the case of an emergency. The ultimate is to have the haunt wiring harness be able to shut down from a non remote location and turn on the house/work lights. What would be shut off would be all props, show lighting, fog, sound and what have you. What needs to come on would be house lights or at very least batter powered emergency light systems.

Alas even training can throw a curve ball. We had two fire fighters die this year in a home that was constructed as an older home encased in a newer construction. The roof was picked open for ventilation but it was only one roof, the roof below in the older structure was built over and no ventilation meant opening the door or hitting a window to the older house with water flashed to levels of severe combustion, killing the two men instantly.

For the most part haunts do not have inner ceilings or if they do it is not a tremendously strong sealed structure, it is decorative and is intended to allow for the path of sprinkler systems in a much taller building. Ventilation might be included to actually keep the place cool during operation and this is something that would be shut off with all the show systems.

In the case of these firemen's deaths, no one knew the structure of the home. All 3 fire departments responding did what they were trained to do. The home owner that constructed this house is in a small town with no specific codes saying it could not be constructed that way. It was unfortunate.

The two that died where major contibutors to the haunted house event. This year we did not open as it isn't all about the haunt. State and Federal investigations are to go one for a year before they are issued and the local TV news covered the story of the loss of these guys from August through October almost daily. More reports will be issued probably next August. These men and their skills have not been replaced.

In watching them fight one fire, hosing an area down with 250 gallons per minute will pretty much shut down any electrical circuit as would a sprinkler system. The trick it to have everyone informed with drills. Like in school you were to leave the lights off so electrical circuits are not live, close all the windows so there is no ventilation to a fire other than planned opening and get out quick accounting for everyone.

SpFXChic
11-19-2007, 07:04 PM
Wow. Thank goodness that no one was seriously injured. Glad that they didn't lose much, either. A huge sigh of relief. I'm tired of seeing stories that shine light on the bad things that happen in haunts...even though the fire part of this was bad. I'm glad that they mentioned all of the positive points regarding the training, etc., in this article.

Mr. Haunt
11-19-2007, 07:41 PM
I find it interesting that they had a chance to re-open later in the night. This should be read by everyone, it might even be a good thing to share with inspectors that want to be a pain.


Brian

Mr. Haunt
11-19-2007, 07:59 PM
Gerg,

It sounds like those firefighters you are talking about had been killed by whats called a "Backdraft". This is a fire that has been burning for some time and has used up most of the oxygen in a inclosed room. The fire is then at a smoldering type state. When Oxygen is introduced back into this room via opening a door or breaking a window, it results in an explossion.

Backdrafts have DANGER writen all over them. It is important that firefighters look for the signs of backdrafts. If anyone has watched the movie "Backdraft" you will learn one of the ways to spot this type of danger. For those who have not seen the movie smoke inside of the burning room breathes in or out through the crack under the door. Other tell tail signes are yellow smoke and blacked out windows that you can not see into. The only safe way to enter this room so put out these fires, is by opening a hole in the roof to ventilate the heat and gasses that have buuilt up in side the building.

Backdrafts kill many firefighters each year, it is sad to hear about the loss of any firefighter. They are true heros.

Brian

drfrightner
11-19-2007, 10:01 PM
I'll bet you any amount of money that 9 times out of 10 the fire department does NOT let you open later that night. So they got lucky in that regard but on top of it they must have had a great relationship with their fire department.

I think a lesson here is do NOT weld things near your haunt... and have someone standing nearby with water.

Larry

robos99
11-20-2007, 08:32 AM
Forced ventilation would feed the fire and cause the fire to flash hotter and consume more than not having ventilation. Or if there is to be ventilation it is small via holes axed into the roof rather than like opening a main side door to get rid of smoke. Not untill the majority of the fire is under control.

Excellent point. I completely overlooked that. So I guess ventilating fog from a scene would actually be worse than letting it dissipate. And I suppose with no ceiling, or a loose fitting one, it wouldn't take long for the smoke to dissipate.

HauntedWebby
11-20-2007, 10:44 AM
Our sound system automatically shuts off and house lights turn on when our fire alarm goes off. I thought that was required??

Glad no one was hurt!!

Greg Chrise
11-20-2007, 05:52 PM
Shhhhhhhhh.