Doors to Nowhere!

We sent this in to the website VentEnterSearch a couple years ago when it was initially posted. We felt is was time to show it again on our site for anyone that did not see it the first time. This is a great example of the types of hazards that can be found around your district. These first two were found in an alley of two different ordinary construction buildings. However these types of door hazards are not limited to the older downtown and westside neighborhoods of our city, they have been found in many other neighborhoods including newer commercials on the far east side and post-war buildings in the Southgate neighborhood.


You can see that the doors on the left open up to a fire escape, but on the right open up to a free fall that could be from the 5th story. The only thing preventing you from falling when the door is open is a small bar that is at chest height.


This next door is on the 3rd story and as you can see was open while taking the picture. They more than likely open this for ventilation in the summer. Again the only thing stopping you from falling out of this door is a 2×4 across the opening.

We will never find all of these hazards before a fire happens, but staying heads up and keeping our eyes open will keep us that much more ahead of the game.

Are there any doors to nowhere in your district?

Explore posts in the same categories: 6. Building Construction/Hazards

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5 Comments on “Doors to Nowhere!”

  1. Fred Says:

    Even new construction has these pitfalls. The new USOC building has a door to NO where on the side that faces the CAB. Speaking with one of the builders, the idea was to have a wrap around balcony type design, but they ran short on funding….so now just a door to open air.

    Short story……with the current economy builders are being forcedto short cut alot of things.

  2. TRUCK 4 Says:

    Great post. Definately a problem that every district will face. Recognizing this issue and ensureing that everyone on the fire ground has been informed of this situation will reduce the likely hood of injury/death. I believe that not only should the first due engine officer do a 360 but so should the first due truck( if possible of course). This means that at least two sets of eyes have hopefully seen this problem.

    Train hard, work harder!

  3. Mike Says:

    We have a couple in our first due. One being a room that was made into an apt for a mother inlaw. When things didn’t work out he torn the stairs down but the door is still there about 15′ off the ground. The fall probably won’t kill you but it will definitely ruin your day.

    Know your first due!

  4. R-Fr Says:

    Great website and post! Several years ago a mentor of mine and I spoke about these doors (and windows) to nowhere. Given that every FD has a staffing issue it is hard to justify the following suggestion but the potential “fallout” could be catastrophic for members, families, and municipalities.

    My friend stated that whenever he runs across this type of issue or something similar, during an operation, he will post a member at the opening to act as a safety lookout to inform all members operating of the hazard. He stated that a radio report to all members was not enough to ensure every member operating was aware of the hazard. He also reasoned that if things go wrong and the members operating need to quickly retreat they will be stopped (hopefully) by the safety lookout from falling in the quick retreat.

    I think a ladder thrown to any of these would help. However, these doors to nowhere are even located inside buildings and are sometimes not evident until a door is opened and we attempt to sound the absent floor. Newer and older buildings have these between office areas and storage/warehouse areas.

  5. Lynch Says:

    Good post. On the same topic I’ve seen stairs that go to nowhere in several buildings in the city. Most notably the basement of Michael Garman’s on west colorado. If memory serves there are several different staircases that go from the basement to the ceiling and stop. I think it would be psychologically devastating to be lost or trapped in a basement fire and find some stairs only to have them lead you to the ceiling and not out.

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