Historical Survey of Multi-Story Building Collapses Due to Fire

The historical search for catastrophic multi-story fires included incidents dating back to the 1950’s, or earlier with emphasis on those which occurred in North America.  Buildings of all types of construction and occupancies, in North America, and abroad, are susceptible to fire-induced collapse, particularly older buildings.   Buildings that are undergoing repairs or renovations appear to have a further increase for fire and collapse risk.  A fire-induced collapse in a multi-story building can be classified as a low frequency, high-consequence event.  Modern society draws much attention to these and attempts to prevent them, much as it does for earthquakes and windstorms.  Given that there can be no guarantee that a fire will not occur in a given building, or that it will be successfully contained and suppressed, the fire resistance of the building structure must be assessed in its design in order to avoid local and progressive collapses.