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Rain roofs on buildings

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  • Rain roofs on buildings

    Building owners frequently erect rain roofs (a pitched roof) on top of an existing flat roof. This is usually done because the original roof leaks, pools water, or is in bad condition. The problem is that it is virtually impossible to tell a rain roof from a standard peaked roof from the street. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to spend 15 minutes venting the roof and not get any smoke and heat out of the building? The danger to roof and interior teams is tremendous.

    Is there any way to get the building or fire codes changed to A)require a permit before a rain roof is erected (That way it can get in the FD preplan) and B) require the building owner to cut several 4 X 4 foot holes in the original roof as they build the rain roof? At least this way a roof crew may have a sporting chance to vent the building.

    Any ideas or comments?

  • #2
    I could imagine the work and frustration one might encounter in this type of scenario, but would it really be a good idea to precut holes into a sealed void space? How is this rain roof supported? If it relies on the integrity of the original roof, precutting may allow fire to attack supports of the rain roof, and then consider the fire load of not one, but TWO roofs burning below the vent crew. I've never encountered a rain roof, so I may not be of much help to you... I'm definitely interested in the topic, though, so I'll be sure to follow this one.

    [This message has been edited by lumpy649 (edited 02-18-2001).]

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    • #3
      The only way to find out about these hazards is to get out there and pre-plan. Our station has a rain roof on it and you can't really tell from the street. We have also found a few more of these hazards on other buildings while doing pre-planning. I think the only clue would be a commercial type structure with the pitched roof which in this area would be a little odd. Other than that, pre-planning is the key.

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      • #4
        A fire fighter died in a flashover in the late 1970's or maybe 80 or 81 in a city adjacent to Louisville, KY. He was on the second floor, making an attack. The vent crew opened the pitched roof only to find another roof below it. The venting was not able to be accomplished before the flashover.
        It definately contributed to his death.

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        • #5
          the best advice: get out there and look for them is great, but does not always get them all. in ky, we find them where a sfd with several additions have been covered with one roof structure to clean up the outside appearance. this leads to problems as described in prev. post. it also can lead to some interesting moments. i was ic at a fire out in a rural area, good sized house well involved on arrival. about 3 degrees outside, and nearest hyd. (with reasonable flow) 1.5 miles away.
          the roof was covered with snow, but the first in officer comes out and says the roof is falling in on him. as you can imagine, his mask is fogged, so he cannot see the snow on the roof outside. i keep asking him how the roof is coming down when there is still snow on it outside???
          after we finally get it out, we can see how they covered the many additions to the house with one separate roof to hide all the mismatched roofs. turns out we were both right.

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