Fire Probe Focuses on Pipe Failure

Water supply under scrutiny in deadly blaze near Ground Zero
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 20, 2007 10:24 AM CDT
Men in protective suits examine fire damage at the Deutsche Bank building at ground zero in New York, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. Health risks from asbestos and other toxic materials were questioned Sunday...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A broken standpipe may have crippled the battle against Saturday's Deutsche Bank tower blaze near Ground Zero. Water filled the basement as flames on higher floors raged, the Times reports, and water from the hose connected to the suspect standpipe apparently didn't reach past the fifth floor. Firefighters spent precious minutes pulling hoses up the side of the building.

Also worsening the blaze were EPA measures intended to decrease contamination from the decrepit building, which was under demolition. Negative pressure sucked in air and fed the flames, while firefighters, including the two who died, were trapped and disoriented by the maze of plywood and polyurethane sheets that divided floors and stairways.