Fire at Porterville Public Library (in California)

I grew up in Porterville, and spent a lot of time at the library when I was a kid.

It is sad that they had a massive fire, and two firefighters died.

The story made the CBS Evening News today, so I thought I would share the story here.

(link is to NBC News, but it's the same story.)

What was the temperature at the library on Tuesday?

Fahrenheit 451.

When I saw that news story, I recognized/remembered Porterville as the gateway to Kings Canyon National Park and Golden Trout Wilderness Area. Last time I was there was October, 1993. We actually saw the golden trout in pools in the river. I made an illegal hike to the summit of Mount Whitney, without a wilderness permit, because the legal season to do so had expired a week earlier. I made these trips with someone who was a member of the Merry Pranksters, I bumped into him at Venice Beach in the summer of '93. I struck up a conversation with him around the topic of neuropsychopharmacology, we shared anecdotes about phenethylamine derivatives that we had known and loved. He was drifting along the CA coastal community, as usual; he hopped into my truck and we took a six week electrified tour of the southern High sierra nevada wilderness.

The recent event: I feel sad about the huge loss.

One of the biggest disasters in mans' history was the burning of the library at Alexandria.

Two 13-year-old boys have been arrested in connection to a fire that engulfed a California city’s public library and left one firefighter dead and another missing ….

… The pair of 13-year-old boys from Porterville who have been arrested have been booked on suspicion of arson, manslaughter and conspiracy, authorities said. They were not identified due to their age….

“What do you think of Western Civilization, Mr. Gandhi?”

Yep, those two 13-year-old boys are in a heap of trouble.

What's kinda weird is that the library didn't have a sprinkler system in case of fire.

It's a pretty sad story, especially for those that knew that library or the two firemen.

I’ve worked in libraries in the past, and there’s a significant risk of a mistaken (or malicious vandal) trigger and flooding if a sprinkler system is installed.
library sprinkler system flood at DuckDuckGo finds a number of sad stories about that.

And fireproofing such a large building with CO2 or Halon has its own risks.

Let me say something, and this is my opinion from observation and some experience as a Florida State Volunteer Firefighter for 3 yrs part time only.
Fire fighting procedures need to be changed to protect the Firefighters. These men and women are put in harms way unnecessarily on fires where no person is either savable or even at risk of injury. I have seen many training videos of Firefighters getting seriously injured doing things that were not needed, because they were trained to do the wrong things.
Let me give you an example: This live video was a warehouse fire. The building looked to be 30ft tall and had been reported burning for 45 min. Entry into the building was difficult due to smoke and heat. So it was decided to vent the roof by manually by cutting a hole to allow the smoke and heat to vent and make it easier to enter the building to find and put out the fire. They did not know exactly where inside the building the fire was burning. A ladder truck was positioned near the rear corner and the ladder extended 15ft over the flat roof edge. The first Fireman in regular gear climbed the ladder and was in position to exit the ladder when the roof caved in directly below him. He was completely engulfed in flames as he scurried back down the ladder screaming. Flames entered his suit by his boots, under his jacket, arm sleeves, and under his face shield and helmet. He died a week later.
This should never happen and was a very stupid procedure to be required to do.
It is not fair blame these two teenage boys completely for their deaths, when these firefighting procedures are grossly flawed.

Some studies have shown the risk of water damage from unintended fire sprinkler system activation is overblown. Our local library has a dry pipe system installed. No water in any pipes until a detector senses fire. Only then is the system piping charged. And then only one or two heads right at the fire are activated. They also have special heads that can actually close themselves once a fire is suppressed.

Without a sprinkler suppression system the fire department may dump more water into the building with their hoses than would occur with a proper sprinkler system.

One of the library flood disasters was in AZ a few years ago but it was known there were deficiencies in the piping (rusted holes) and millions of $$ of damage resulted. That was management errors.

Rare book libraries are another matter, most public areas of most public libraries have nothing rare.

Ours also uses after hour book return chutes that are fireproofed as the book returns are often used by vandals who wish to firebomb a library.