About a fire in a skyscraper. Cinema and reality

    Fire in the 900-meter tower! For a moment, the thought of Burj Khalifa flashed, but it lightened - it was just a feature film, with the ingenuous name “Skyscraper” and the same simple but frightening storyline. We could not miss it. Why did it catch fire and how was it extinguished? And if the "Rock" Johnson did not pass by? The plot is real or filmmakers, as usual, come up with? Talk under the cut - go "at the light."

    Shot from the official trailer of the film

    Caution! In the post spoilers in quantity, making the subsequent viewing of the film, perhaps meaningless.

    Shot from the official trailer of the film

    The film attracts with realistic enough input data. The scene is a megatoll. Those today are few, but they are. In the story, representing the skyscraper, they even mention Burj Khalifa - everyone dreams to overtake him, but the Hong Kong one, even the cinema “Pearl”, managed to get ahead of everyone. Very likely turnaround. China in the high-rise case - in primah.

    "Pearl" overtakes Burj Khalifa. Already eight years as a dream of many high-rise builders. Shot from the official movie trailer

    Another plus to the credibility - the issues of fire safety of high-rise buildings: they are always sharp. Yes, the "anti-fire" carefully thought out. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is much more thought out than that of objects of average height. But there is the same paradoxical situation as with an airplane - the safest and most frightening type of transport at the same time. Firstly - it is not clear how this all works. Secondly, catastrophes, while happening, are truly resonant.

    Three guards "Pearls"

    But back to the film. So, given. Skyscraper "Pearl" - about a kilometer high, multifunctional lower and residential upper parts. Dwayne Johnson, a former Special Forces soldier, is the auditor of the Megatolla fire safety system.

    Future fire auditor. Shot from the official movie trailer

    It seems that Johnson is not quite in profile. However, firefighters can be compared with special forces in terms of physical training. Cases when firefighters are subsequently engaged in designing and auditing fire protection systems are not rare. Who, if not they know all the requirements, regulations and possible vulnerabilities? For example, in the Lakhta Center, fire safety engineer Alexander Smirnov and leading fire systems engineer Alexander Gladilin are real firefighters in the past. For a long time they were engaged in extinguishing real fires and they know what it is like to deal with fire.


    So, as an auditor, Joson made a check and concluded that the skyscraper is Fort Knox by security level.

    There are doubts ... Shot from the official trailer of the film

    Safe megatoll "Pearl" makes a comprehensive fire protection system of three components. Once - a unique ventilation network, two - ceiling diffusers, three - carbon dioxide supply system, which extinguishes the fire in seconds. An additional degree of protection - the control center is located outside the skyscraper - even in case of problems in the building itself, the control is in a safe place.

    Beautiful and safe? Shot from the official trailer of the film.

    In general, everything looks believable. But consider in order.

    Fire and ventilation

    “The unique ventilation network” is a real decision, but its uniqueness is exaggerated. Probably, we are talking about general ventilation, which really turns off at the time of the fire, so as not to “inflate”. Anyone who has ever made a fire, understand what threatens the influx of air to the fire engaged. Whoever has not kindled - can see in the film, as the plot develops, this is shown. When the “fire” signal arrives, the automatics close the ventilation grilles, but a little later the hired arsonists — yes, they do it — they open the grilles, just like the lift shafts. There is a thrust, the flame instantaneously flies up to the very top, moving through the mines.
    In reality, super-high buildings are divided into fire compartments, the communications of which are not communicated with each other. Elevator mines, as a rule, do not go from top to bottom with a single volume, but are structurally separated - just for safety reasons. Yes, and ventilation is so easy not to restart - only from the control center, on special access.

    Water and flame

    Ceiling sprayers - a modern solution that allows you to detect and immediately effectively cover the source of fire. In the film, it seems to be the case. A fire alarm signal is spread across the building, and water sprinkling from the sprinklers begins. In the normal course of things, the people on duty from the post of the fire brigade of the tower, appearing after a few minutes, should have caught not only the place of fire extinguished, but also thoroughly sunk in the water. Flood after extinguishing is the rule rather than the exception. Therefore, now finely sprayed water is increasingly being used - the effect of fire suppression is two to three times better, and the subsequent damage is much less. Water mist for buildings began to be used in archives, large libraries, whose funds would suffer the same from fire and water.

    However, in the film they extinguish it with plain water, and she plays a much wicked joke with the skyscraper than the flood. The arsonists use a tricky move - under the guise of workers they penetrate the building and scatter a good layer of some substance on one of the floors, which spontaneously ignites when in contact with water. Next in the scenario: the arsonists arrange a little smoke - water from the sprinklers - a chemical reaction - spontaneous combustion - a fire provoked by fire extinguishing.


    What's wrong?

    Splinking systems do not work from smoke - the device is based on a different principle. A sensitive glass flask is inserted into the sprinkler, which expands when the temperature rises by about 20 degrees and opens, giving way to water. Smoke on the expansion of the bulb can not affect. The insidious burning idea was supposed to end here - at dancing with smoke bombs under those who do not want to work as sprinklers. Or, instead of smoke bombs, it should have been armed with a rocker with at least a couple of buckets of water for the fuse.


    Of course, even before the fire to this plot twist, many questions arise. For example - how could people with suitcases stuffed with dangerous chemicals get into a building?


    Villains with trunks stuffed with flammable substance - aren't they suspicious? Later it turns out that they also have weapons and military equipment with them. Shot from the official trailer of the film.

    And here’s how - they didn’t go through the guard post, but broke through the wall on the technical floor ... Suppose there is no security on the technical floors, but break through the wall of the skyscraper? Even if some minor, very small wall ... Even if the Chinese skyscraper ... What is happening?

    A break in the concrete wall on the technical floor. Shot from the official trailer of the film.

    Agree, this is more than strange ...

    In reality, it’s impossible to break the wall of a skyscraper in a concrete part, especially on the technical floor, without the use of extremely powerful and highly visible special equipment. Demolition of skyscrapers built for a long time is a complicated matter, usually involving directional detonations of supporting structures. What to say about modern ultra-high, which are designed for resistance to shock overload and progressive collapse?
    As our chief engineer, Sergey Nikiforov, notes: “... over the past 50 years, the strength of structural steel has increased by 40%, reinforcing bars - by 50%, and concrete - by almost 100%”. And to destroy this high-strength reinforcement and concretes without noise and dust, by minimal means? ...

    If, nevertheless, the wall somehow managed to be broken through quietly and imperceptibly, for example, by borrowing a laser sword on the next set, then it still does not converge further. In any super-high buildings there is a system for monitoring structures. When the wall is destroyed, the sensors will transmit an emergency signal about it. Such a system can be arranged differently in different buildings, but its presence and actuation when a structural element is destroyed is a constant. In Lakhta Center, for example, an alarm will come not only when some element is deformed, but also when it hints at this . The scoundrels just got their laser sword, tried on, and already came after them).

    In general, the quality of the construction and access control services of the Pearl case is absolutely, absolutely unimportant. But back to the fire.

    Shot from the official trailer of the film.

    Are there any substances that can catch fire on contact with water? Yes, there are. For example, some alkali metals and their carbides. The situation is theoretically possible - if you close your eyes to the fantastic way of delivering the dangerous substance inside the megatoll and the very idea of ​​working with carbides.

    Carbon dioxide and fire suppression

    Yes, it does, but in limited cases.

    The tower with people is not related to cases. A shot from the official trailer of the film

    CO2 in certain quantities is dangerous to humans: at 5% concentration, symptoms of intoxication come, at 7-10% - lethal. The effect of fire extinguishing is achieved at a concentration of about 30% carbon dioxide in the room. So gas fire extinguishing - only after complete evacuation.

    With regard to the climax of the film, even gas masks on the heroes could not give realism of its fiction. The essence of gas fire extinguishing is a closed volume that allows to achieve the desired gas concentration. “If at least the window is open, such a fire extinguishing will be meaningless,” explains Alexander Smirnov, an engineer at the PB and OT Lakhta Center. So, the final shots, when CO2 comes from sprinklers (for some reason in the form of a clear liquid), the fire goes out in front of the heroes to the accompaniment of a wind blowing out of the breaches in the floor and walls is an absolute reality unclouded by reality.

    How would you really extinguish a fire if you suspect spontaneous combustion of some substance when in contact with water?

    Alexander Smirnov, PB and OT Lakhta Center engineer:
    - Until it’s determined what kind of substance it is. And in general, before the evacuation of all people in the building - this is the first task. Then the firefighters would begin to surround the fire, limiting non-burning floors: that is, to extinguish the uppermost and lowermost of the burning floors, gradually moving towards the epicenter - that is, to the floor where it all began. Since the substance was scattered on the same floor, by the time it entered, it would most likely have completely burned out - you could have extinguished anything. But not with gas, if the glazing from the temperature is already destroyed.

    Not fiction for the sake of, but only by the will of the writer who invented everything

    Of course, we are watching a feature film, not a documentary. Some distortions may well be present - the question is, what facts have to sacrifice for the story to take place.

    For example. In the "skyscraper" there are shots when a large crowd leaves the lower levels of the building, while people remain on the upper levels.

    And then everyone who came out, shoot what is happening on the phone and spread it on YouTube. Here, perhaps, five points to realism. Shot from the official trailer of the film

    In life, the order of evacuation is the same: evacuate everyone - this is the first and main task in case of emergency. Even if the fire is very, very small and it seems that it can be quickly extinguished - all the same - everything is outside.

    Shot from the official movie trailer

    For example, the evacuation of the highest skyscraper in the UK, The Shard. The reason - a smoke sensor worked on one of the technical underground floors.

    It is clear that the screenwriter left the heroes on the upper floors of the megatolla, so that we had something to watch. Not critical. In the end, no one learns how to evacuate properly, according to the films - for that is, both training alerts and signaling instructions for real-life emergencies.

    But the main move in the causal chain raises a big question. The fire safety system of megatoll is controlled only from a single tablet ... Like - as a “smart home”, only a “smart megatoll”. The tablet is handed to an unfamiliar auditor, and he leaves with him to walk around the city without protection, only in the company of a bad friend.

    And why build a plot on such absolutely improbable, fantastic things?

    Scary and safe

    There is an old film about a fire in a high-rise - “Hell in the Sky”, 1974. The cause of ignition in that plot is the negligence and greed of the contractor, who saved on the wiring and materials. Sometimes - still realistic, regardless of the year the film was released. But in relation to most modern and even more so unique skyscrapers, such as “Pearls”, such things do not pass now: an increased category of responsibility, certain fire prevention regulations, comprehensive monitoring of both supervisory authorities and customer services, and in the end is a high-rise construction market. which today forms a limited number of contracting companies that have gained reputation for decades. It seems that today it is easier to invent an absolutely fantastic story based on assumptions that have nothing to do with reality,

    What else to say about the movie? Glasses in the tower Johnson beats faster Willis. But Bruce somehow believes more.

    Mistress on the note. To break the glass in the tower, Johnson uses a metal Chinese statue, and Bruce uses an office chair

    about fire-fighting in the skyscrapers, as it is. This review is preceded by an article on fire safety in Lakhta Center. In it, our experts will tell you how the fire protection systems work in the complex during the construction period and will be - during the operation period. If there are questions on the topic - write in the comments under the post, we will try to answer them in the upcoming material.

    Mistress on the note. A good fire hatchet - helps not only in a fire, but also in combat with arsonists. For the following experimentsover the glass facade, we think to get yourself the same.


    Alexander Smirnov, engineer on safety and fire, Lakhta Center, helped to understand the details of the scenario. Thanks for the help!

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