1:10 am - Fire at the southern elevator tower. Firefighting efforts about to start.
2:06 am - Fire gains intensity on the 34th floor.
2:24 am - Main staging area on the 27th floor where one of the booster pumps was located.
3:48 am - Fire advances to the 35th floor. At this point there are two 2-1/2” hose lines working the fire.
4:20 am - Floors 34 & 35 fully involved.
5:00 pm - Firefighters get ready for a defensive position on the 38th floor.
5:51 am - Fire moving upward very slowly thanks to the defense strategy by the CFD.
6:12 am—Fire still in check. Booster pumps soon start to fail.
8:50 am - Fire starts to gain speed. Five floors fully involved.
10:49 am - Fire gets close and is temporarily delayed by the Macroslab 4.
12:04 pm - Fire Chief orders the firefighting operation be abandoned.
1:31 pm - Fire regains intensity.
3:07 pm - one of the last attempts by government helicopters to cool down fire using buckets.
3:08 pm - Fire reaches the 47th floor.
5:00 pm - Fire reaches the top floor.
Next morning - Fire consumes all floors from the 34th to 50th. The 51st and 52nd floors were partially burned.
Disco fire in Buenos Aires, Argentina
by Eduardo Alvarez, SFPE
Last December 30, a fire at a rock concert in an unsprinklered disco in Buenos Aires, killed 191 people, the largest loss of life in a fire in Argentina’s history. The Republica Cromagnon disco was a one-story building of approximately 1,500 square meters (16,150 square feet), with an occupancy permit for 1,037 spectators. But an estimated 3,000 people were inside on the night of the fire.
The fire started at 10:50 p.m., a few minutes after the concert had started, when fireworks thrown by a spectator set fire to the combustible acoustic lining of the ceiling, presumably made with polyurethane foam. The fire spread quickly through the ceiling. Smoke inhalation claimed the most victims. There was a lack of compliance with local codes regarding the combustible acoustic lining and the use of fireworks inside buildings.
Other factors contributing to the large loss of life included a main exit door that had been closed with a padlock, and the lack of emergency lighting and exit signs. In fact, a few minutes after the fire had started, electrical power was cut off and there was total darkness inside the overcrowded space, making a chaotic situation even worse.
NFPA, in cooperation with International Fire Safety Consulting (IFSC), is documenting this fire. A Summary Report should be available in late February.
Eduardo Alvarez is a practicing fire protection engineer based inBuenos Aires,Argentina. He is Regional Director of IFSC del Cono Sur, a member of NFPA’s Latin American Section Board of Directors, Second Vice President of NFPA’s Argentinean Chapter, and an NFPA instructor for NFPA 101 inLatin America.