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  #1  
Old 11-16-2018, 11:24 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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California fires

I was talking with the Mrs this morn over the paper. It looks like they will find a lot of the 300 still missing near Paradise deceased.

Is there a way to build a fireproof house?
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  #2  
Old 11-16-2018, 11:31 AM
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There are several options for building a fire RESISTANT house. One thing about it, wood is combustable so the more wood in a structure the more opportunity for fire.

Look at this way; Calis liked to build homes near the forest so they can enjoy the view. With the view of the trees and forest comes the risk of fire.

Everything in this life is a risk; h*ll an astroid could fall out of the sky and land on your house one hour from now. I've decided to do the best I can when it comes to security issues, i.e. burglar proof, burglar alarm, fire proof, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, etc etc. then take a deep breath and enjoy the life I have this minute.
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2018, 11:37 AM
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There is a little known and little understood problem that comes along with all this. It appears homeowner's insurance companies fold homes built near known flood zones and/or fire zones into the insurance rates the rest of us are paying.

In other words, those of us who had the foresight to purchase a home that is not in a flood or fire zone are helping to subsidize the idiots who purchased homes in fire and flood zones. It is my feeling that homeowner's insurance companies should place those homes into a special high risk category and charge them accordingly. That would automatically lower premiums for those of us who own homes in low risk areas.

There is one insurance company located in Virginia that has been doing exactly this for over 200 years If you are lucky enough to have insurance with them, you will pay one HALF normal premiums. That is a lot of BUX back in your pocket!!!
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Old 11-16-2018, 11:40 AM
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Yes. Out of brick, concrete, or masonry. But such homes tend to survive earthquakes less well than wood-framed houses. Also, heat and actual fire aren't the only things that will kill you during a bushfire or forest fire -- the smoke can be lethal in itself. No oxygen, lots of CO and CO2.
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Old 11-16-2018, 11:44 AM
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:24 PM
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It would have to be a fortress to take a direct hit from a fire. People generally think all thats needed are noncombustible materials. Thermal shock and heat deformation are to be considered.

I think a safe room would suffice. It would have to have an air supply.

Forest management with the required burn offs would stop a lot of these fires.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:44 PM
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Earth sheltering would likely be the only partial solution. But that usually requires more land in order to have 6' thick surrounding berms and cover.

Even then there would have to be some considerations as the the fire resistance of any exterior features. It might need to be more "bomb shelter" like around the entrances and window features, moveable shields? make them out of Air-Crete of some other weight modified concrete, maybe build a mildly inclined ramp so a wheeled barrier could be rolled into place quickly to cover things like doors and windows. Maybe a heat sensitive meltable link to hold them in place until the ambient air temps exceed normal. Links would melt and the large thick Air-Crete blast cover would roll into position covering the flammable exterior parts.

How about cover endangered structures with some type of aqueous foam as the fire threatens them. The fire trucks at airports for example easily generate a mountain of foam that can cover a plane so they should easily cover a house. How about something along the lines of those hydro seeding trucks, they can shoot stuff a couple hundred feet.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:41 PM
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I imagine an Architect or Engineer who could design a safe home in a fire could make some money now.
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.

Last edited by t walgamuth; 11-17-2018 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:07 PM
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It would be an oven inside. I read about a couple who survived the Santa Rosa fire by getting in their swimming pool. Barely survived, as the air was so hot they could barely breathe it, damaged their areways and lungs I understand. And the water was so cold, they nearly got hypothermia.

Aluminum wheels on autos were melting. The safe room would need to have huge amounts of compressed air, some means of cooling, and that would take power. Very tall order.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:21 PM
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[QUOTE=cmac2012;3862484
Aluminum wheels on autos were melting. The safe room would need to have huge amounts of compressed air, some means of cooling, and that would take power. Very tall order.[/QUOTE]


Actually, cooling would be less of an issue than you'd think. If there's money for that kind of safe room, there's money for a pool. Place the room below the swimming pool, or just underground. You'd need compressed air and CO2 scrubbers, though.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
It would be an oven inside. I read about a couple who survived the Santa Rosa fire by getting in their swimming pool. Barely survived, as the air was so hot they could barely breathe it, damaged their areways and lungs I understand. And the water was so cold, they nearly got hypothermia.

Aluminum wheels on autos were melting. The safe room would need to have huge amounts of compressed air, some means of cooling, and that would take power. Very tall order.
How do all the native creatures who live beneath the soil survive without all that?

An 80 cubic ft Scuba Tank can provide at least an hour of air for an average person, so a couple tanks per person would easily provide breathing air long enough for the hottest of the fire to pass. To bad your pool owners didn't have a few bottle of air in storage, reality is only a couple thousand $ could make it possible to "sit-out" the fire in an in-ground pool. People could pretty easily build themselves a decent size tank in almost any suburban homestead for a couple thousand dollars more. Heck in florida they sell 30-40 foot fiberglass pools, "Fire Survival Submergence Tanks out to be pretty doable!
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  #12  
Old 11-17-2018, 04:07 AM
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The smoke will kill far more people in the next few weeks than the fires. Especially the elderly and those with resporatory conditions.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by I Can't Believe it's True View Post
How do all the native creatures who live beneath the soil survive without all that?

An 80 cubic ft Scuba Tank can provide at least an hour of air for an average person, so a couple tanks per person would easily provide breathing air long enough for the hottest of the fire to pass. To bad your pool owners didn't have a few bottle of air in storage, reality is only a couple thousand $ could make it possible to "sit-out" the fire in an in-ground pool. People could pretty easily build themselves a decent size tank in almost any suburban homestead for a couple thousand dollars more. Heck in florida they sell 30-40 foot fiberglass pools, "Fire Survival Submergence Tanks out to be pretty doable!
Earth is an excellent insulator. Those critters don't live in wood frame houses. I don't mean to a cynic, an ass (comes natural), I get what Tom is saying and I agree that some amount of fire proofing measures are a good thing. One of the grander houses I was part of building was in Portola Valley, maybe 10 miles west of Stanford in the foothills. Surrounded by scrub forest, it had a tile roof and stucco walls. Cedar shake roofs do reflect water, but OMG, kindling in hot weather.

However, I understand that in really hot fires the framing will combust behind the stucco from the radiated heat. Building wood free houses might be a wave of the future, dunno. One house we remodeled in the 90's had been built in '26 (SF), there had been a wave of all concrete houses (earthquake and fire resistant), the exterior walls and all floors were concrete. Grand house. Main floor had 14' ceilings, 2nd floor 11', third floor and garden level 9'. Originally owned by the son of railroad magnate Mark Hopkins.



Speaking of Mark Hopkins, and houses that burn, perhaps his son (adopted it turns out - Timothy Hopkins) built his house in that manner as the house built by his father (completed after his, MH's, death) burned in the '06 earthquake/fire and one can imagine it was one hell of a big torch:



The iconic Mark Hopkins Hotel now sits on that site. 10 story hotel on the top of nob hill, I've not been to the lounge on the top floor (Top of the Mark) but I gather it's got quite the view.
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  #14  
Old 11-17-2018, 07:31 PM
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We purchased a house in 1988 that had steel studs, imagine my surprise when I went to pound in some nails to hang some pictures.


Anytime internal temps reach 450 F or higher the wood is going to ignite. So steel studs and stucco would help... but if the temps are high enough to ignite the wooden structure, the furniture and flooring are probably already in flame.
The other option is sprinklers to keep the house from burning down (if there is any water pressure)... Yet the water damage cost nearly as much as fire damage.
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However, I understand that in really hot fires the framing will combust behind the stucco from the radiated heat.
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  #15  
Old 11-17-2018, 07:38 PM
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Steel studs will melt at some temp.
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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