NEHRP Clearinghouse

Investigation of Cause and Effects of Fires Following the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Mohammadi, J.; Alyasin, S.; Bak, D. N.
National Science Foundation, Washington, DC. Div. of Industrial Science and Technological Innovation., May 1992, 194 p.
Identifying Number(s)
The study investigated the causes and effects of the 41 San Francisco fires following the October 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and examined the risks for future postearthquake fire in the city. Using data gathered from fire departments and other sources, the authors found that these fires were due to damages to electrical wiring or electrical equipment, overturned or disrupted appliances, and several isolated causes. For each fire, they examined the classification type, intensity of ground motion, soil type, and type of structure burned, and with the information constructed a risk model for simulating initiation of other potential post-earthquake residential fires. Employing event trees and other models for gas and electrical fire initiation, in conjunction with probabilities associated with various earthquake ground acceleration levels, the authors computed the probabilities for future occurrences. The study noted that such information can provide the basis for earthquake preparedness, such as in helping to plan fire fighting strategies, alternative transportation routes, shelter and hospital services, evacuation procedures, and also aid in assessing which residential services and/or equipment are needed to reduce risk in localities vulnerable to earthquakes.
Earthquake damage; Risk; Buildings; Fire prevention; San Francisco (California); Gas distribution; Earthquakes; Fire hazards; Leakage; Loma Prieta Earthquake; Seismic effects; Statistical analysis; Fires