Whatcom Middle School Fire Recovery

  • Location Bellingham, WA
  • Client Bellingham Public Schools
  • Fighting Fire with Fierce Engineering

    After a middle school is severely damaged, engineers help with recovery efforts.

Fastidious fire response. After a fire destroyed Whatcom Middle School, Bellingham Public Schools needed help to maintain the safety of the investigators, first responders, and faculty. Immediately following the Whatcom Middle School fire on November 5, 2009, Reid Middleton, Inc. provided engineering and project management services to assist the Bellingham School District with their response and recovery efforts. These “emergency” services started with the development of temporary shoring drawings to allow the fire investigation teams to access the building. Building investigations and structural analyses were performed to determine the extent of structural damage and its effect on the structural stability and safety of the remaining portions of the building structure. Multiple exterior wall shoring alternatives were designed to provide supplemental support to the fragile wall system around the perimeter of the building. Working closely with the Bellingham Public School District, their insurer, and the contractor, Reid Middleton, Inc. developed conceptual design drawings for the repair and the replacement of some of the building elements damaged as a result of the fire, as required for the safety and stability of the structure. These drawings, in addition to a building information model and other tools provided by Reid Middleton, Inc., were used to determine the most cost-effective and time-efficient building recovery solution.