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Madrid Windsor fire

On the evening of Saturday February 12 2005 a fire broke out in the Windsor tower in Madrid, Spain. The building is located in the heart of Madrid's commercial and banking centre and is one of the tallest in the capital.

The Madrid fire has increased interest in the real response of structures to fire, coming so soon after major building fires in New York, Chicago and London, amongst others.

The following is an Arup view based upon what is known about the fire event in conjunction with our structural fire design and analysis experience.

It has been prepared based upon information in the public domain only and will be updated as further information becomes available.

Structure and fire safety measures

The building had a concrete central core with two rows of reinforced concrete columns in the north-south direction, aligned with the core side walls. The structure above ground was characterised by two transition floors at 3rd and 17th Floor levels, which housed plant and services.

The typical floor slab construction was reinforced concrete bi-directional ribbed slabs, spanning onto composite steel beams in the east-west direction. The slabs were supported along the perimeter by steel columns, supplemented by RC columns on two sides below 17th Floor level.

The transition floors were formed with solid RC slabs and deep beams. The original facade mullions and transoms were fixed to the steel perimeter columns, and a new facade structure had been added to outside of old facade. The perimeter columns in turn were supported by transition structures at 17th and 3rd Floor levels.

Spanish codes, in common with most continental European codes, place more emphasis on passive control measures than on active measures. The Madrid regional code does not require sprinkler protection for buildings with an evacuation height of less than 100m so active measures were limited to automatic detection and alarm, fire hose reels and a dry riser system.

The building was being refurbished at the time of the fire so we do not know the state of the passive measures in place but from information available it would appear that Edificio Windsor had the following passive protection:

floor by floor compartmentation (typical compartment size 850 m2)

An unspecified fire resistance period for the concrete structure, steel columns protected below 17th Floor, unprotected above that level.

Vertical shafts forming separate compartments

1.0m or 1.5m deep vertical fire protection along the perimeter slab edge.

Fire brigade call out
Development of the fire
Extensive damage
Structural response
Lessons to be learned
Windsor fire investigation
Windsor fire aftermath causes chaos in Madrid
Lessons Learned
Pictures from fire
 
 
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