Firefighter: "Tall and Skinny" Homes Are An Increased Fire Risk

Posted: 7:32 PM, Jun 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-20 20:45:27-04

Nashville's newest housing trend is also a fire hazard according to fire experts with Nashville Fire Department.

Captain, and instructor, Alfred Baltz has been studying "tall and skinny" homes and how fire impacts the buildings. Since the designs are intended to take up less space, the homes are typically closer together than an average home. This is where the fire department and homeowners run into problems said Baltz.

"That causes issues with us because we're used to homes being 20, 25 foot apart, now these homes are on top of each other," said Baltz.

Tuesday night at 9:20, three of the homes caught fire on Pecan Street in North Nashville. The fire spread quickly between the buildings. Baltz said this is a textbook example of what he's studying.

"The fire that we had last night actually damaged two extra homes and burned two down," said Baltz. "The close proximity to all of those homes together, makes it harder for our people to advance hose lines, get into the right position to save those other two homes and protect the exposures."

Essentially, that means firefighters can't reach hot spots or get in between the tight houses to protect nearby structures. Luckily, the homes were under construction and not occupied, but Baltz says he has a responsibility to protecting his firefighters over property.

Baltz also said he's seen the buildings as close as 42 inches a part.

"Definitely six foot is too close," he said.

For people who are currently living in these, or really any, type of home, Baltz says it's important to have a way out that everyone who lives there understands. Escaping quickly is important in newer homes where fire spreads more quickly.