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IRS Building Fire

Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:13 pm
by operabuff
http://www.fox5dc.com/news/116821649-story

Note that the building had already been closed for the day when the fire broke out because of air conditioning issues. (I was wondering why there were few employees standing outside when the fire trucks arrived.)

The main IRS building has had its issues over the years. It partly rests on wooden piers driven into the marshy land around the old Tiber Creek. Ten years ago the building was closed for several months when the basement flooded. There was a related problem because the piers were slowly sinking into the ooze.

The IRS building at New Carrollton MD was constructed on the premise that everyone would leave the dilapidated building in downtown DC. When it got down to it, no one really wanted to be that far away from DC and several thousand people still work downtown.

Re: IRS Building Fire

Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:13 pm
by AndyK
operabuff wrote:...
(I was wondering why there were few employees standing outside when the fire trucks arrived.)
...


Remember; just because the building is closed doesn't mean it's empty. There's always someone there 24/7.

This is not the first fire of this type. Another happened almost 20 years ago.

The main electrical system in the building was designed and built by Thomas Edison. Many of the original components remain in service. In specific, there are massive copper bus-bars connecting the transformers and the primary distribution panels. Since the transformers were filled with PCB-laced oil which dad leaked out and contaminated the floors, no one went into the rooms for routine maintenance.

As a result, massive dust bunnies came to live on the bus-bars. Eventually, they touched, shorted, arced, and ignited. Once the flaming dust balls fell onto the oil-soaked floor ...

The basement corridors rapidly filled with dense smoke -- right outside my basement-level office. It was several weeks before we could return to our office to begin salvage work.

Re: IRS Building Fire

Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:05 pm
by Arthur Rubin
"Attack of the Dust Bunnies" would be a good name for a SciFi/Horror movie -- except it's already been used.