A fire that came close to bringing down Pennsylvania's Liberty Bridge could have been avoided if safety measures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) had been followed, according to construction experts. The fire was started by sparks from a worker cutting steel igniting plastic ventilation pipe and a tarpaulin, causing a 30-foot cord to bow.
NFPA standards state that crews doing hot work should keep combustible material 35 feet from the fire, assign at least one crew member to "fire watch," and have fire suppression equipment available immediately. Experts believe following these standards make incidents like this one unimaginable:
“This is completely avoidable. All you have to do is follow the rules,” said Frank Burg, a registered professional safety engineer and certified safety professional in Woodstock, Ill...“I can’t imagine how this could happen if they did everything they were supposed to do.”