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Burn Building
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Overview

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 and propane.

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 building.

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 Search and

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 Term.

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