In-Depth: A fire wall helped stop a fire from burning a whole city block

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester firefighters battled a massive warehouse fire that started on Leighton Avenue on Sunday night and spread all the way to Greenleaf Street.

One of the things we noticed with the massive warehouse fire in Rochester is at least half of the warehouse was saved. And we have the drone video that shows us why that happened.

The video shows part of the warehouse is destroyed. But it also shows at least half of the warehouse in tact. And the dividing line is the fire wall.

The same protection goes into every townhouse and home with a garage getting built today.

“It’s 55,000 square feet,” RFD Captain David Abdoch said describing the size of the warehouse on Greenleaf Street near East High. “That’s how big it is.”

It’s a full city block. But half of the warehouse was saved from fire damage because the fire wall withstood the flames and heat.

“If this fire wall wasn’t here, I’m pretty sure this damage would have been, would have gone a lot more, and gotten a lot more of the building caught up in the fire damage,” Abdoch said.

The same idea is built into homes like the Pride Mark townhouses going up in Penfield. Jim Barbato is the owner.

Brean: “You are in one of your units getting built right now. Can you show me what the fire wall looks like in that unit?”

Jim Barbato, Pride Mark Homes: “Sure. So this is the fire separation or fire wall in between the two units.”

The fire wall goes from the floor to the tip of the roof. It’s two layers of one inch drywall, three and a half inches of insulation and an air gap.

“It’s designed so the residents on either side have two hours, it contains the fire within one unit for two hours,” Barbato said.

Brean: “So we saw the effect of a fire wall on that massive warehouse fire. The fire walls in those units or any new built, it would effectively do the same thing – it would stop the fire spreading from one unit to another, is that right?”

Jim Barbato: “That’s the idea. I mean it’s not going to protect it forever but it’s designed to be at least a two hour rating.”

The fire wall was so important in the warehouse, we watched Rochester fire fighters go into the burning building to pour water on the wall and they soaked it on the outside too.