Patrick Air Force Base Officers’ Club
An accidental fire destroyed the Patrick Air Force Base Officers’ Club in February
2005. According to preliminary investigations carried by officers stationed at the base, the
fire, which destroyed the oceanfront Officers' Club, was caused by a roofer's torch. In an
online report, the US Air Force (2005) mentioned that the torch set alight flammable
materials on the roof that burned unnoticed thereby causing the club’s roof to burst into
flames. While local and military firefighters battled the flames to save the building, the blaze
raged on into the early morning and proved too strong to extinguish. Notably, it destroyed a
large part of the building with only a small outer façade left standing (US Air Force, 2005).
The base was a hub of various social events and functions and assessments reports detailed
damages from the fire in excess of $3 million in direct and indirect costs.
While it is impossible to determine the possibility of a fire breaking out, adequate
preparation and safety measures can also mitigate the risk and damages caused by fire. In
particular, fire detection and suppression systems could have aided the base’s officials from
reduce the damage the fire caused. In view of Sowah et al. (2016), detection systems can be
either manual (switches that can be pulled when a person sees fire or smoke) or automatic
(detectors that activate when they sense temperature changes or smoke) that warn people of
fire and in most scenarios prompt evacuation. With such systems, the club personnel could
have detected any signs of fire and acted promptly. Suppression systems are also useful in
stopping fires from spreading (Sowah et al., 2016). With functioning fire doors, sprinkler
systems, halogen and CO2 systems, the club would have been minimized possible losses by
lowering the risks of fire damage.
Material Storage and Handling
Seven feet is the maximum allowable height for stacking bricks according to the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Other than the stacking height,
OSHA outlines that in case a loose brick stack reaches a height of 4 feet, it ought to be
tapered back 2 inches for each foot higher than the 4-foot level (Occupational Safety and
Health Administration, 2019). Additionally, Section 1926.250(b) (7) of the OSHA Act asserts
that masonry blocks stacked higher than 6 feet need to be tapered back 1.5 blocks per layer
beyond the 6-foot level. What is more, packaged bricks should be stacked no more than three
units high. What is more, it is important that masonry blocks and bricks are stacked on solid
and flat surfaces.
OSHA in its report on materials handling and storage mentions that 16 feet is the
maximum allowable height for stacking lumber. Stacking lumber higher than 16 feet is
unsafe when it is done without a forklift. Stacking, according to OSHA, is quite dangerous
and the person carrying out the task must be provided with a safety ladder (Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, 2019). On the contrary, the stacking height should not
exceed 20 feet if a forklift is used for the task. Similar to bricks, lumber ought to be stacked
on even and firmly supported sills to guarantee the stability of the stacks.
According to OSHA (2019), the rated capacity of a ½-inch diameter Grade 80 alloy
steel chain sling when used in a double leg bridle sling at a 45° vertical angle is 17,000
pounds of load.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2019). Directorate of Standards and
Guidance – Guidance on safe sling use – Tables and figures. Retrieved from
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2019). Materials Handling and Storage.
Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA2236/osha2236.html
Sowah, R., Ampadu, K. O., Ofoli, A., Koumadi, K., Mills, G. A., & Nortey, J. (2016,
October). Design and implementation of a fire detection and control system for
automobiles using fuzzy logic. In 2016 IEEE industry applications society annual
meeting (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
US Air Force. (2005). Fire destroys Patrick club. Retrieved from