High-Rise Office Building Fire, One Meridian Plaza, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (February 23, 1991) [open pdf - 2MB]
"This report on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, One Meridian Plaza fire documents one of the most significant high-rise fires in United States' history. The fire claimed the lives of three Philadelphia firefighters and gutted eight floors of a 38-story fire-resistive building causing an estimated $100 million in direct property loss and an equal or greater loss through business interruption. Litigation resulting from the fire amounts to an estimated $4 billion in civil damage claims. Twenty months after the fire this building, one of Philadelphia's tallest, situated on Penn Square directly across from City Hall, still stood unoccupied and fire-scarred, its structural integrity in question. This fire is a large scale realization of fire risks that have been identified on many previous occasions. The most significant new information from this fire relates to the vulnerability of the systems that were installed to provide electrical power and to support fire suppression efforts. In this incident there was an early loss of normal electrical power, a failure of the emergency generator and a major problem with the standpipe system, each of which contributed to the final outcome. These experiences should cause responsible individuals and agencies to critically reexamine the adequacy of all emergency systems in major buildings."
Report 049 of the Major Fires Investigation Project