Albany fire department knocks on wood for new building codes

The Albany Fire Department wood drill Wednesday. / Matt Prichard

The Albany Fire Department held a revolutionary new drill Wednesday to improve building codes throughout the country.

By building two structures Wednesday, the Albany Fire Department has begun the process of cutting down on structure fire fatalities. With one structure built out of solid wood, and the other out of finger jointed wood, the department is studying which material will collapse easier under the pressure of a fire.

"What we've done is we've framed up the structures, loaded them up with the same amount of weight, approximately 450 pounds, comparable to people putting stuff in their attic. We're going to set the buildings on fire, and see which one collapses and which one sustains the weight the longest," said arson investigator Sam Harris.

However, these drills aren't just for creating better building codes, they also ensure firefighters safety in a fire.

"Looking at what we do, how we do it, looking at the different types of products. Whether it's other building materials, or whether it's the things within a structure, and how they burn, how fast they burn, how hot they burn, all those things are things we look at," said training captain Eugene Anderson.

With the solid wood lasting 75 minutes, and the finger jointed materials holding up for 35 minutes, Albany Fire officials are hoping that the results can prepare fire departments across the country, when running their fire inspections.