CHARLESTON - A long-awaited federal study of a fire that killed nine South Carolina firefighters in a furniture store more than three years ago will be released later this month.
The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., has been studying the June 2007 blaze that gutted the Sofa Super Store.
Institute spokesman Michael Newman said Thursday the draft study will be released Oct. 28 with no advance copies released to local government officials.
Newman said although there are many fires each year, the agency investgates only those with a large loss of life or where there is something unique that can be learned.
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The institute conducted complex computer modeling to determine why the Charleston fire spread so quickly, why the building had collapsed and whether sprinklers could have saved firefighters.
The agency conducted similar studies of fires at the World Trade Center and a 2003 fire at a Rhode Island nightclub where 100 people died. The nightclub fire study concluded sprinklers would have saved lives.
The Charleston study could lead to improvements in building construction and revisions to building codes. The agency will take comments on the draft report and release a report with final recommendations later.
The Associated Press