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Coupled Fire/Evacuation Analysis of the Station Nightclub Fire

Galea, E.R., Wang, Z., Veeraswamy, A., Jia, F., Lawrence, P.J. and Ewer, J., 2008. Coupled Fire/Evacuation Analysis of the Station Nightclub Fire. Fire Safety Science 9: 465-476. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.9-465


In this paper, coupled fire and evacuation simulation tools are used to simulate the Station Nightclub fire. This study differs from the analysis conducted by NIST in three key areas; (1) an enhanced flame spread model and (2) a toxicity generation model are used, (3) the evacuation is coupled to the fire simulation. Predicted early burning locations in the full-scale fire simulation are in line with photographic evidence and the predicted onset of flashover is similar to that produced by NIST. However, it is suggested that both predictions of the flashover time are approximately 15 sec earlier than actually occurred. Three evacuation scenarios are then considered, two of which are coupled with the fire simulation. The coupled fire and evacuation simulation suggests that 180 fatalities result from a building population of 460. With a 15 sec delay in the fire timeline, the evacuation simulation produces 84 fatalities which are in good agreement with actual number of fatalities. An important observation resulting from this work is that traditional fire engineering ASET/RSET calculations which do not couple the fire and evacuation simulations have the potential to be considerably over optimistic in terms of the level of safety achieved by building designs.

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