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Default Video: Watch Fire Researchers Torch Homes, Offices and Warehouses

</img>: To model how flames turn buildings into ashes, the nation's leading fire researchers don't play with matches over the sink. Instead they burn down entire homes, cubicles and warehouses.
At the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies, researchers set huge fires under a 40-foot-long by 30-foot-wide exhaust hood that is connected to an $8 million control unit.
Using measurements of oxygen consumption, the researchers can precisely determine the temperatures inside the room as well as the heat-release rates of different materials. Then, using software like Fire Dynamics Simulator and Smokeview, the researchers run virtual and real-world side-by-side comparisons of how combustion works.
By modeling the way flames and smoke travel under real conditions, the fire scientists are creating new strategies and technologies for fighting tough blazes.
In this video gallery, you'll see Christmas trees fires, dorm rooms ablaze, and cubicles melting.
Poor Bunny

In this clip, we see how quickly a dried out Scotch-pine Christmas tree can light a room on fire. Within 30 seconds, the room is engulfed in flames. According to the NIST, holiday trees account for more than 400 fires, 10 deaths and $15 million in property damage every year.
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski
</img>: At the end of the nerd-classic Office Space, Milton, the much-abused office loser, sets fire to the cubes of Penetrode, where the main characters work. Here, fire scientists give you an unintentional peek inside the movie's end. The video shows how quickly flames spread from ignition to a point known as flashover, when the room becomes engulfed in flame, in an open office plan.
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski
</img>: When you can't trust your college roommate not to accidentally drop a lit cigarette into a trash can, this video proves that you don't need to -- as long as your college has sprinklers installed.
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski
</img>: Following a six-fatality fire in Chicago in 2003, NIST modeled what happened on the 12th story of the Cook County Administration building. To understand how the fire got out of hand, the researchers measured the heat release rate of different components of the office building. In this video, we see four workstations with chairs in a 23-foot by 24-foot enclosure.
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski
</img>: Here's another video from the series of tests intended to model the Cook County Administration building fire. This time the researchers tested a single workstation that wasn't enclosed. Eventually, these tests helped NIST recommend safety changes that should prevent future fires from turning deadly in similar environments.
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski
</img>: Part of NIST's mission is to educate the public about how fires work. In this video, we watch as a living room goes from spark to flashover in mere minutes.
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski
</img>: When firefighters lit up this Phoenix warehouse, they employed infrared cameras, lasers, sonar, vibration sensors and video to look for clues about how to predict structural collapse. They didn't find any dead giveaways, even with all that tech, but their conclusions and data can be seen here (.pdf).
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski
</img>: For firefighters, one of the worst things that can happen is the building collapsing on top of them, so figuring out how and when that's going to happen has been a focus of NIST research. In this video, dummy firefighters on top of a burning house fall through the roof before being pulled out by ropes.
Video courtesy Daniel Madrzykowski


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