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This paper presents a framework for modelling the growth of fire in a building as a stochastic phenomenon. After discussing the probability distributions of duration of burning and damage, a state transition model involving four states is proposed for describing the progressive stage of fire development (and extinguishment) within a room. This model is based on data furnished by fire brigades in the United Kingdom for fires extinguished in each state during each time period since ignition. It is explained how, by applying “extreme value” technique to these data, approximate values can be obtained for a probability distribution of duration of burning in each state and for probabilities of transition from one state to another. Four materials ignited first in the bedroom of a dwelling are used as examples.
fire protection, fires, fire growth, modelling, probability distributions, stochastic processes, state transition model, transition probabilities, extreme value technique
Head, Operational Research and Systems Studies Section, Fire Research Station, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire