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The First Interstate Tower fire
was a high-rise fire
A skyscraper fire or high-rise fire is a class of structural fire specific to tall buildings. Skyscraper fires are one of the most technical fire suppression challenges posed to modern fire departments, and require a high degree of organization and cooperation among participating units to be...
that occurred on May 4, 1988 at the First Interstate Tower (now Aon Center
Aon Center is a 62-story, Modernist office skyscraper located at 707 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles, California. Designed by Charles Luckman, and completed in 1973, the rectangular black building with white trim is remarkably slender for a skyscraper in a seismically active area. It is...
) in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...
. The fire destroyed five floors of the building, injured 40 people, and caused the death of a maintenance worker, when the elevator the worker was riding opened onto the burning 12th floor.
The fire was so severe because the building was not equipped with a sprinkler system, which was not required for office towers at the time construction was completed in 1973. A sprinkler system was 90% installed at the time of the fire, but the system was inoperative, awaiting the installation of water flow alarms. The fire was eventually contained at 2:19 AM, and caused $50 million in damages. Repair work took four months. Because of the fire, Los Angeles building codes were changed, requiring all high-rises to be equipped with fire sprinklers. This modified a 1974 ordinance that only required new buildings to contain fire sprinkler systems, grandfathering
Grandfather clause is a legal term used to describe a situation in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations, while a new rule will apply to all future situations. It is often used as a verb: to grandfather means to grant such an exemption...