Regarding the March 21 editorial “Amid the fire, a warning”: In the wake of the Raleigh fire, we commend the Raleigh Fire Department for its commitment and demonstrated capability. Before condemning wood construction, as was done in the editorial, it is important to remember that fires occur in all types of buildings built with all types of materials.
In completed buildings, it is most often the contents and furnishings we bring in to them that burn.
In buildings under construction, as Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath said, “Any building that we build, anywhere in the country, is vulnerable at some point during construction.”
Construction requirements enforced in North Carolina are developed by the International Code Council, approved by building and fire officials from all over the country through a consensus process. The code establishes requirements such that all buildings have similar safety performance regardless of the materials from which they are constructed.
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For buildings under construction, site security is a necessity; for wood buildings particularly so before sprinklers and fire walls have been installed.
Construction site fire security needs much greater attention, and the American Wood Council has produced manuals and videos to help prevent these types of construction fires that be found at www.constructionfire.com.
President & CEO, American Wood Council