Something to think about: Renovated factory buildings

Last month, a massive fire destroyed a large former factory site that was undergoing an extensive renovation into apartments and retail space.

In my travels over the past 10 years, I have gotten through many of these very old, multi-story factory buildings while they were still in use for manufacturing operations. The floors and structural members are all typically composed of wood that has dried well over their 100 or more years. In many instances, these buildings were used for furniture production or another similar operation that may have employed solvent-based processes that left years of accumulated flammable liquids spilled in some areas. This typically gives me the notion that there would be no such thing as a “small fire” within such a structure.

However, recent trends have engaged these same buildings in repurposing projects that renovate them into residential and commercial space. If you have one of these in your area, I encourage you to take a good in-depth tour of the property prior to the beginning of renovations. To truly understand and comprehend what you are up against, I think it’s imperative that you see these structures in their original domains.

As you will see in this video, as well as many others that have been posted of similar incidents, it doesn’t matter if the incident occurs prior to renovations, during renovations, or after occupancy, these incidents certainly qualify as not just another fire…

Video posted on Oct 18, 2014 of Reading, PA. 4th Alarm Factory Fire

Reading Fire transmitted the box for 8th and Oley Streets for a report of a building fire around 03:00 hours Saturday morning.

Reading Fire Department was assisted by numerous companies from the surrounding area to help battle this fire. It started on the lower floors and vertically extended up an elevator shaft to the top floor of this 6-story factory building that once housed a Reading Outlet store.

The building was undergoing a 6.5 million renovation into apartments and retail stores.

 

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