02 March 2008

Balloon construction rears its ugly head again in Massachusetts; same problem as in the Gloucester Lorraine building where Robert Taylor died.

Cross reference: BostonNOW.
Okay. Lawrence to the left of you, Gloucester to the right. In Lawrence a few weeks ago, a fire "raged" through another balloon construction building and displaced 19 people and killed one just as in the Gloucester fire of 15 December, 2007 that leveled the Lorraine. Here's the new Lawrence story, in the Eagle Tribune. Thomas Joseph Madden died in 45 minutes. Here's the money quote:
Murphy said a major obstacle to overcome was the balloon frame structure that made the blaze a pesky one to knock down. "Balloon construction" is a common building technique in old houses this age. Long studs run all the way from the basement to the roof without fire breaks, funnelling fire and smoke through the walls, enabling flames to move quickly from floor to floor.

Sounds just like what Robert Taylor went through before he died, and others who barely managed to escape with their lives. Read about Robert Taylor's Law in the Gloucester Times editorial posted here.

Yah, I know.... all the cliches.

Well if the shoe fits..... Read the 22 Dec. 2007 Kristen Greco story in the Gloucester Times as quoted in the comments.

Consider tight enforcement of code the proper shoelace when it comes to balloon construction buildings all throughout Greater Boston.

Related post:"We're gonna' watch it go up like a tinderbox....."
Related corporate ethos: The Ford Pinto. Here's a short film.
Achtung! LE: The Crown Vic will kill you, too. Here's a Depo:
Question: “Now, one of the things that is really, really clear is that if you look at the percentage – if you look at the rate of fatalities in rear-end fire collisions, the Crown Vic is among the worst; isn't that true?”

Answer: “The data would show that, yes.”

Nationwide, at least 12 police officers have been burned to death and nine others seriously injured in Ford police cars that have erupted into infernos after rear-end collisions. Analysis shows the officers would have survived except for the fires.

Look I don't hate the police at all. I'm trying to protect the Good One's reputations, and you guys should get raises for riding in these POS cars.


Christopher King said...

Overheard the other day in a rather nice Boston pub:

"KingCast, those, balloon construction buildings ought to have a warning with them...."

"Yah, I know. I've only got so much time though. At least I raise the issue, and it's part of the litigation of which I won't publicly speak, but yah I think it's like a design defect, like a Ford Pinto.

They were great, cheap cars and even handled well, but in the end there was a fatal design defect and they all had to be recalled."

Christopher King said...

Kristen Greco's Story as noted:

"After Gattineri and Raso purchased the building - operating under the name Waterfront Properties - permits were issued to replace windows and to install smoke detectors and new basement water pipes, among other things. But no permits are on file for more significant work that Shattuck said was needed.

"You have an aging building," Shattuck said. "You have an owner who appears not to have taken much interest in the tenants. ... The ultimate disaster happened."

Shattuck said he was particularly concerned about the building's electrical system, which he said included "knob and tube" wiring dating to 1910, when the building was erected as a hospital.

Shattuck said an electrician told him in the mid-1980s that hot spots could develop in the BX wiring that could heat the metal jacket red-hot, creating a fire inside the walls. Shattuck said that because of the Lorraine's "balloon" construction, he knew the building would be lost if that type of fire broke out.

Former resident Phoebe Potts, who lived on the third floor with her husband and moved out in September, said that they discussed the possibility of a fire all the time.

"We were able to sleep at night by saying, 'At least the Fire Department is right across the street,'" Potts said.

She added that the building was not well-maintained.

She said friends from her native New York often joked that she had found the only "Upper East Side tenement" in Gloucester.

"I always wanted to ask (the owners), 'Would you let your children live here?'" said Potts, an artist.

Christopher King said...

"Fighting strong competition from Volkswagen for the lucrative small-car market, the Ford Motor Company rushed the Pinto into production in much less than the usual time.

Ford engineers discovered in pre-production crash tests that rear-end collisions would rupture the Pinto's fuel system extremely easily.
Because assembly-line machinery was already tooled when engineers found this defect, top Ford officials decided to manufacture the car anyway—exploding gas tank and all—even though Ford owned the patent on a much safer gas tank.
For more than eight years afterwards, Ford successfully lobbied, with extraordinary vigor and some blatant lies, against a key government safety standard that would have forced the company to change the Pinto's fire-prone gas tank.

By conservative estimates Pinto crashes have caused 500 burn deaths to people who would not have been seriously injured if the car had not burst into flames. The figure could be as high as 900. Burning Pintos have become such an embarrassment to Ford that its advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson, dropped a line from the end of a radio spot that read "Pinto leaves you with that warm feeling."

Ford knows the Pinto is a firetrap, yet it has paid out millions to settle damage suits out of court, and it is prepared to spend millions more lobbying against safety standards. With a half million cars rolling off the assembly lines each year, Pinto is the biggest-selling subcompact in America, and the company's operating profit on the car is fantastic. Finally, in 1977, new Pinto models have incorporated a few minor alterations necessary to meet that federal standard Ford managed to hold off for eight years. Why did the company delay so long in making these minimal, inexpensive improvements?

Ford waited eight years because its internal "cost-benefit analysis," which places a dollar value on human life, said it wasn't profitable to make the changes sooner.

Before we get to the question of how much Ford thinks your life is worth......."

Anonymous said...

Holla holla!!

Anonymous said...


This an off topic. It relates to NH and Lincoln NH and Franconia.

A man named Frank who works for Public service of NH Who also works weekends as a Deputized Freelancer for the Lincoln Police Department tried to have me Arrested At loon Mountain.

I ski fast and most people who ski at loon are beginners.

We understand this as readers and skiers of Cannon's state resort.

I only ski fast from my Past. Green Mountain Valley School and My best friend Al Hobart and the Vermont Supreme court in Montpelier and the Judges and Lawyers can say different.

We Won the case. Al Hobart was real pissed off. He thought he had connections to his rich friends in Vermont.

Legal system. YES!

Let's get back to the story,

This Guy Frank Who works For Public Service Of NH Called the Cops on Me for skiing Fast.

Frank, of PSNH calls the Lincoln Cops and they showed up. Then I asked them- Are you ready to arrest me on a business contract?

I said go and arrest me and then asked them if they where ready to arrest me.

I told them it's a business contract and they would have a hell of a time in court.

They looked at me stupid.

If I was unruly in a privet enterprise of public place... then arrest me.

The back of the lift ticket can only be the disclaimer.

After all, skiing fast is on thing at Loon Mountain. Building Jumps and neck braking ramps in snowboard parks is Different? Just ask AIG.

Chris, What the fuck did NH ever do for it's Economy?

The story goes... is that two Lincoln Police showed up to arrest me.
(My cousin and friends have been on the ski patrol at Loon for 20 years)

It bothers me that some people think they have something to prove.

The best part was I was ON the Bus going back to my condo at the village of loon when these assholes showed up.

I think they got a taste of my old Blog.. NH Police abuse.

Take care


advertising balloon said...

balloon framing is more dangerous to erect because of its weight and height, and the long, straight wall studs required have grown increasingly expensive and scarce.

Christopher King said...

Interesting Charlie.

Loon was where I first really got down on the board, really learned to carve and flow when I moved up here.

Dig the pic.



Aren't balloon buildings out of mode now?

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