View Full Version : Wall Pamel Flame Test by Georgia State Fire Marshall

03-19-2011, 06:49 AM
Many of you are aware of our dealings with the Georgia State Fire Marshall. Here is a video showing his process for flame testing our wall panels. The panel in the back is a Scarefactory catacombs panel treated HEAVILY with New York Fire Shield. The panel to the right is plywood backed, carved white EPS syrofoam hard coated with LINE-X truck bed liner. The Scarefactory panel passed but the hard coated panel is another story. Watch the entire video to see what happened. A flame retardant treated vacuform panel was tested as well but I do not have a video record of that. None the less it melted down fast and turned into about a square foot puddle of black burned melted plastic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbAk6zx0xJs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbAk6zx0xJs)

RJ Productions
03-19-2011, 12:28 PM
So what was the response from the fire dept?

Also who pays for the cost of the test as you are burning $100 panels?
Do you have to do this every year???

What is their guidelines? They had the initial fire, not many problems, so then they heap a ton of
straw and burn it longer???? ANYTHING will burn given enough time and temperature including metal!!

A lot has to be said for your evac time. Any fire retardant is just that, a RETARDANT in that it will burn eventually.
It is just supposed to give you time to evac the people.

So what was the final conclusion of the test? Kinda looked like a couple good ol' boys having fun burning stuff!!

03-19-2011, 12:39 PM
So tell us what he determined..
Do we need to go buy some dry straw and put it thoughout our haunt let the fire deptartment come in and set it a blaze to see what burns? Most fireman are just legal arsonist anyway.
I really dont understand how this proves anything other than anything will burn eventually..

03-19-2011, 02:09 PM
The result was that we could not use any hard coated foam or vacuform pamels anywhere in the haunt. Were were allowed to use pathches of vacuform but we could not cover an entire wall with it. All of our wood walls had to built from inherently fire-retardant plywood ($$$) which then had to have a base coat intumescent paint applied. Our original plan was to use carved foam for our mausoleum and the crypts in our cemetary but we ended up building them out of wood (as described above) and spraying them with ProKote acrylic stucco.

Rich - We had to pick up the cost of the test panels.

Paul - Cannot agree with you more, but we were not about to argue with the fire marshall. We did what we needed to do to obtain his blessing and get our doors open.

I posted the video just to show what we had to go through to get our haunt open.

03-19-2011, 04:08 PM
This...is...wrong! Very uncalled for...let's see, let's add "fuel" to the fire and see if it burns! HA...I say, let's take some straw to the fire department and see if it burns too. This is unbelievable. There HAS to be something that can be done about stuff like this...do they not recognize the THOUSANDS of entertainment attractions that use hardcoated foam as part of their scenic treatments?

What do they do when a theater/stage production comes to town that uses foam? Anyone ever heard of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA...ALOT of foam! The circus?

Maybe rethink your zoning, remember we're not commercial, retail OR wholesale...I know some haunts get zoned that way and it's not fair!


03-19-2011, 04:58 PM
Your right about vac form. Mine was tested last week and it went up like gas. I have a puddle of melt.

I wont say who I bought from.

Hay rides in ohio need a burn test as well.

They look for the speed of which it burns.


03-19-2011, 05:13 PM
What a bunch of malarkey! Do they do that same double test at the local retirement homes, grocery stores, movie theaters, hospitals, or schools? Or fire stations, as Tyler suggested? No, because they wouldn't expect any of them to pass.

Someone needs to forward this to all members of the Georgia state legislature so they can see what standards their bureaucrats are imposing on businesses there. Then everyone here needs to send a nasty letter to the owner of the New Jersey amusement park that killed those teenagers and made fire departments across the country rush to cover their butts by going to the opposite extreme in fire safety.

03-19-2011, 05:23 PM
I posted my reply before seeing the video. I would say that test was not at all fair or professional. Anything will burn if you put a 2ft. flame next to it for 5 min. twice, and it still took a long time.

Was anybody timing this? If not, they are not doing it right.. Thats what the tests are about. How long it takes. It took quite a while for it to flame up.

This would have passed in my area.


03-19-2011, 05:59 PM
I am a fire marshal only a few hours up the road from you in SC and I know that you say you don't want to make them mad but it seems like someone already has! As "not fun" as it is....in order to do a proper test you do have to bite the bullet and let them try to burn a panel or two.I can understand that. However, if your props are fire retardant and everything inside your house in fire retardant and they have already tested that, then there will never be a big pile of flammable material (straw) to even start burning in the first place like that. The goal of a fire inspection is compliance to life safety. After seeing a fire burn for as long as the first one did, that would give plenty of time to get your customers out and put that fire out with an extinguisher before it grew any bigger. Assuming they already checked to make sure extinguishers were in complaince too. For cloth, netting, etc. they should just take a small sample and burn it with a lighter. If it melts or "withers", that is what you want.....you dont want a large fire to build, you want it to melt and go away. ANYTHING will burn when it gets hot enough....I have seen concrete burning and popping when a large fuel drum was burning because it got that hot. However, there is a lot to be taken into consideration that it didn't look like they did....like how much harmful gas and smoke is it putting off (obviously not too bad bc they were just standing inside there) etc. BUT.....when it is all said and done there is not much you can say because each state is able to adopt a set of guidelines and then adapt them to its own guidelines on flame spread and fire testing. So, even though I feel like that was excessive and from the video appeared to do a pretty good job, there is probably really no standard in Georgia that is clear enough for you to make a case that it was excessive. But very interesting, thanks for sharing!

Jim Warfield
03-19-2011, 06:12 PM
Obviously many people looking at that video were now also "Burning!"
(Sometimes fires just keep spreading, don't they?)
It just didn't seem to make sense did it?
I am assuming they weren't torching the straw because you had straw inside the house? Right?
I would never allow smoking next to my napalm exhibit either!

03-21-2011, 06:40 PM
Early on I had my city state in writing the standards they would hold us to.

They established a written policy for haunted houses and mazes as a result of my requests.

Here is what I have had to work to.

"1. Decorative Materials
a. All decorative materials (decorations, drapes, backdrops and props) Shall be either inherently flame retardant and labeled as such, or shall be treated with a flame retardant that is registered with the California State Fire Marshal. Any material not appropriately labeled, as fire retardant, shall be flame tested.
Note: The flame test shall consist of putting a flame to a sample of the material by a match or lighter. The test shall be conducted outside the building on a specimen of the material approximately 3 inches wide by 10 inches long and oriented at a 45-degree angle. When testing, the flame shall be applied at the bottom edge of the material for a period of up to 12 seconds. If the material fails to ignite, or if it ignites and self extinguishes when the flame source is removed the material shall be considered flame retardant."

The fire marshal can of coarse do whatever he wants, but when a written baseline is established it tends to put a rope around the issues.

03-22-2011, 08:52 AM
This is just bullshit , to me it looked like good old boys having fun with your haunt. I don't think anyone is going to have someone walk in with a bail of hay and gas build a nice fire and sit around and stoke it. Please it's a haunt not a brick oven pizza stand. and the funny part is the first time it was clearly going out so he came in to work the fire up some more then when it did little damage turned around and made a bigger fire to make sure it burned. Well of course it will, it did it's job the first time it went out, now after it's exposed from doing what it's supposed to do they building a bigger fire and say look it's burning, Bullshit again. That's like me ramming your car your airbags go off and your fine then me getting into a different car and ramming you at the same speed and killing you and saying well see the airbags didn't really work. BULLSHIT . This is the things the HAA should be working on for our industry clear guidelines for fire protection.


03-22-2011, 05:59 PM
This is the things the HAA should be working on for our industry clear guidelines for fire protection.

Great idea.

Uptown Haunts
04-16-2011, 03:45 PM
Since my local fire marshal is pretty much brain dead when it comes to haunts, I was thinking of doing a burn test in his office. I wonder if he'll get the message.....

04-16-2011, 05:52 PM
So on my haunt rules I need to just add "NO hay or plant material allowed"?? :)