In January 2022, there was an apartment fire in the Bronx, NY where 17 people died, including 8 children. A fire inside an apartment unit on the 3rd floor spread when the tenant evacuated but left the unit’s door open. As the fire burned, smoke was drawn though a stairwell door that was also left open, creating a flue like effect inside that stairwell all the way up to the 15th floor. Per the responding fire department, all victims died of smoke inhalation.4
Building owners are responsible for keeping their fire door assemblies code compliant, regardless of whether the annual inspection requirements are being enforced. NFPA 80 provides 13 criteria for fire door inspections and stipulates that the doors must be annually inspected by a “qualified person”. They define a qualified person as “A person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, professional standing, or skill, and who, by knowledge, training, and experience, has demonstrated the ability to deal with the subject matter, the work, or the project.”1 Inspecting fire doors and repairing any nonworking components can help save lives. Inspections can also save your company from being held liable for the lives of others and costly fines for non-compliance with fire life safety codes.
Please keep all fire doors closed and maintained. Someone else’s life depends on it.