In a new building project, Miami-Dade College (MDC)
building design officials are constructing a building that replaces the
former North Campus Burn Building. The North Campus burn facility
provides sustained, high temperature, live burn simulations for flame
and smoke evolution to train firefighter students and fire rescue crews
for actual fire situations.
Burn buildings have special requirements because
they are used as a training prop. The new Fire Academy Burn Building
will be built utilizing proven modern materials and technologies that
have a proven record of safety, utility, and success. It will be
heat-and-fire-resistant while providing the optimum environment for live
structural and simulated burns using multiple fuel sources, such as wood
The structural components of the building consist
of a framework of concrete slabs over concrete columns that are built
independently from the in-fill, nonbearing masonry walls. This
separation of the concrete shell from the walls provides optimal
protection to the structural components.
The new design corrects the structural failure of
the former burn building due to its construction using refractory
concrete. This caused spalling, or the separation of chunks of concrete
from steel, as the building materials were subjected to repeated high
temperature burns. Separating the structural components (the beams,
columns, and slabs) from the infill, or concrete block walls, allows the
materials to expand and contract independently. This extends the life
expectancy of the new building beyond the usual life span of 20 years
for a building without this structural component.
The new burn building contains three burn rooms on
the ground floor and one "Class A" burn room on the second story of the
Fires in the first-story burn rooms will be
simulated propane fires, emitted from propane gas outlets under the
props in a room, such as a kitchen or a bedroom.
In the "Class A" burns on the top floor of the burn
building, combustible materials such as wood pallets are set on fire,
producing a different type of smoke and heat than the simulated propane
fires. In a typical “rollover” training, the flames impinge upon the
ceiling and momentarily spread across the entire ceiling. In addition to
Rescue and Rollover training, a projected use of
the new facility is to provide in-service firefighter training for the
Fire / Rescue Departments in Miami-Dade and Broward.
MDC obtained funding for the design and
construction of the burn building to continue to offer training and
preparation for firefighters following 9-11.
To allow room for expansion, the new 3,200
square-foot Fire Science Burn building is being constructed in the
southwest quadrant at North Campus.
Student occupancy is projected for the 2004 Spring