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opienandm t1_jdioui9 wrote

The Pizza Hut in the cover photo was replaced by Chipotle/Cava/Panera at W Grace and N Laurel. The view is looking from 701 W Grace toward the School of the Arts building on W Broad st.


H-Resin t1_jdjmpnb wrote

That’s the Pizza Hut that gorilla crew “blew up” right?


sleevieb t1_jdinzon wrote

Everytime I see a 5 over 1 I fear this is their fate.

Or that the glues will fail after decades and they will do a building 7 out of nowhere


jodyhighrola t1_jdj25o3 wrote

I’m with you. Timber frame construction, specifically in mid to high rise buildings, obviously has come a long way. IF your fire suppression systems fuck up down the line….yikes. That’s why we have inspections and code, but we’re not quite getting any better at those things as time progresses in some regions of this country. (Uneducated opinion)


sleevieb t1_jdjdpg6 wrote

Society is so fucked and wealth is so stratified that we began building tenaments again.

In decades when the first time renters of these units are long gone and no one can remember they were once “new luxury apartments “ they will be full of poor families who will be cooked alive as neglected pipes and aging wood and glue fail.


Vegetable_Macaroon32 t1_jdjjd2c wrote

They aren't timber frame , they're platform framed out of dimensional lumber, not as robust as concrete or steel, but keep it dry ( exterior maintenance) and it should hold up fine. People need places to live and i assume this cuts building expense , not having the heavy duty steel i beam or concrete construction. It won't last as long as pyramids but it doesn't need to. And there are very old wood structures around, i feel like the longevity of a building has a lot to do with care and upkeep. I work in the fan on old houses and i assure you it takes a huge budget and an army of tradespeople to keep those things from totally falling apart. The new apartment buildings probably aren't meant to last a hundred years, they can always be pulled down and rebuilt. Who knows how people will want to use the space that far in the future? Not sure what glue you mean, like in the plywood?


sleevieb t1_jdjtj8q wrote

My understanding is these structures are kept together by commercial adhesives and thousands of bolts per floor.

>People need places to live and i assume this cuts building expense , not having the heavy duty steel i beam or concrete construction.

The origin of these structures is some developer figured out that a county code had been changed to no longer require steel and concrete construction as long as they had a fire suppression system that conformed to a new more stringent code. Once one of these things was built other developers in that city took notice, it spread across the state and then country.

I agree that it is a cost cutting measure and a solution to the problem of people not being able to afford to live. Similar to the construction of tenements was a response to horrible economic conditions.


> It won't last as long as pyramids but it doesn't need to.

The pyramids are tombs

> And there are very old wood structures around, i feel like the longevity of a building has a lot to do with care and upkeep.

I'm not denying that but I would think a concrete and steel structure requires much less upkeep and repair than a wood strucutre. Even with the outer layer of weather blocking that these structures have. I wonder if it will ever make economic sense to repair the top 4 floors above the concrete bases.


> I work in the fan on old houses and i assure you it takes a huge budget and an army of tradespeople to keep those things from totally falling apart.

Fan houses are not 4 stories tall. Nor do they have the density of these so the potential fire risk is greatly mitigated. I'm sure you know the exorbitant cost of rehabbing or maintaining one of these properties, even though it has been decades now where it made economic sense to refurbish and upkeep the houses.

> The new apartment buildings probably aren't meant to last a hundred years, they can always be pulled down and rebuilt.

I agree that they wont last 100 years and will probably require being torn down sometime in the future whether from degradation or their outlawing as fire risks.

> Who knows how people will want to use the space that far in the future?

I think the "fuck it let the people down the line figure it out" is a horrible way to urban plan.

Not sure what glue you mean, like in the plywood?


I thought these were made of Glue laminated timber or Cross laminated timber but maybe I was mistaken


Vegetable_Macaroon32 t1_jdjwrs5 wrote

The cross laminated timber stuff is exciting next level building tech in it's infancy, think cool artsy buildings in Sweden. The podium building we are talking about looks like good old two by fours and two by tens nailed together by framing crews with big nail guns. Albeit probably w trusses and some LVL s in the mix. I think the tenement comparison is a bit much, people in tenements didn't have hot running water, refrigerators and AC, much less pools and gymnasiums and one bedroom apartments all to themselves. I agree w you, to an extent. It would be nice to see the six story concrete apartment blocks that seem to predominate in Europe, but the country is having a housing crisis. Yes the evil developers will make money, they aren't philanthropists, but lots of apartments are going up all over town. So something is working? I wonder how much of this has to do w bringing residential construction to commercial rental world in terms of enabling immigrant labor in the mix. These folks work very very hard , no union coffee breaks or paid holidays. Sad, but capitalism ain't always pretty.


jodyhighrola t1_jdjgkcz wrote

Related to pipes… if the cold weather extremes extend to warm climates, pipes won’t stand a chance. I watched Austin’s MFH world implode when every building had catastrophic pipe bursting because they didn’t insulate for that kind of weather. It was apocalyptic feeling hearing all of the fire alarms going off for days, no water.


sleevieb t1_jdjtrcs wrote

Climate change is going to fuck shit up but VA is a better place than most.

For instance our winter codes are way more robust than Austin. This last Christmas was probably a portent though.


RCBilldoz t1_jdme8rt wrote

It was truly the perfect storm and was started by a careless smoker.

They had finished framing and it had no doors or windows. It was a giant rocket stove.


vwphile t1_jdithyl wrote

I forgot there was a pizza hut there!

Watched the smoke from the roof of my apt on (Arthur Ashe) Boulevard. Had just left class and didn't notice something was going on until I got home.


CoffeexCup t1_jdj1rn8 wrote

Ashes from the fire were falling in the yard of the house I grew up in out in Mechanicsville.


Canard427 t1_jdj4o0e wrote

I was living in Capital Garage apparently next to Community Pride grocery store, corner of Broad and Ryland....went outside to smoke and got hit with a blast of heat soon as I opened the doors, smoke everywhere. Walked around corner and it was like opening an oven, huge flames towering over broad street, lacking the buildings on the other side.


WhoCaresBoutSpellin t1_jdkigua wrote

I had a friend that lived in an alley apartment behind the VCU presidents residence. I remember being in the same area visiting and feeling the heat blast blocks away too.

The heat also melted the top of the facade of the arts building across the street. the damage might still be visible (havent looked in a while, but the damage was visible for years after the fire)

It was the “RAMZ” building or something, I think. One of the first 5-over-1 buildings I recall being built in downtown / VCU Richmond area. Apparently it went so well (burned to the ground) they were like— “great idea, let’s build a bunch more!”


spacemonstera t1_jdk4lhe wrote

lol yes. I was a VCU kid majoring in kinetic imagery (video and animation). My classmates brought in so much fire footage after that, the teachers banned us from using it.


Freseper t1_jdjgm5o wrote

This would have never happened if they had just left that lot a Hardee’s.


RCBilldoz t1_jdme27j wrote

When I turned on CNN the were reporting a Hardee’s was on fire in Richmond.


Cheaperthantherapy13 t1_jdjnnra wrote

I was in class in one of the Hibbs lecture halls, and we saw a bunch of students in the hallway running towards the windows facing north. My professor poked his head out and said, “Oh wow! That new building on Broad St is on fire!”

We started to get up to see and he said, “oh, don’t worry, it’ll still be on fire when class is over.” And finished the lecture. It was indeed still very much on fire when class was over 30 minutes later.

My now-husband has picture of him and his roommate watching the fire from the roof of their apartment on W Grace. Might make him pull those up if we can find the hard drive.


ThatChildNextDoor OP t1_jdine1s wrote

Could you describe what all happened that day?


lunar_unit t1_jdj19dr wrote

A lil taste of that day:

As the first building burned, large flaming chunks of Tyvek were lifted aloft by the wind, carrying the fire to other buildings.

A friend of a friends truck didn't burn, but was close enough to the heat that all the rubber and plastic melted, and was a total loss.


bruxalle t1_jdipca0 wrote

The dorm caught on fire. It was big.


Gorz0th t1_jdj7tda wrote

Always was an apartment building.

You could be standing at Grace and Shafer (used to be a VCU parking lot) and feel the heat. Traffic was fucked, Broad was blocked, and had to jump off the bus at Belv. and walk west. If I remember, cars were cooked in the parking deck across the street, it set off a few other fires in Carver.


JeffRVA t1_jdjixps wrote

>If I remember, cars were cooked in the parking deck across the street,

They were. I had a friend that was parked on the side of the West Broad Deck closest to the fire and her car was totaled.


RCBilldoz t1_jdmeeck wrote

And the laptop and other research in the car. What a year!


chasetwisters t1_jdkgiap wrote

95 was shut down. The wind blew the smoke and embers towards 95 across Carver


Cheaperthantherapy13 t1_jdjo1nh wrote

A mixed used building was almost done being built and some idiot on the construction crew threw a lit cigarette down the trash chute into a dumpster full of saw dust. Dumpster caught on fire and took several buildings with it.


wil_dogg t1_jdjdvf3 wrote

I was flying home that day we could see the smoke from way out.


freetimerva t1_jdj43y6 wrote

I lived in the fan then near Stuart and meadow. Rode home from school and could see the smoke. Went up in the roof of the house and you could see the flames towering over the fan.

Biggest fire I've ever seen in person.

The real tragedy are the people in carver who's homes were affected.


kid_christ t1_jdje0c2 wrote

Man i remember that! I was at Harrison street coffee shop and walked down to grace and stood near plaza art and you could feel the heat from it, it was intense. Just crowds watching


rvalongitude t1_jdk7f1r wrote

I was at the Village Cafe having lunch with a friend when we say the smoke. We paid our tab and walked over to Grace at Shafer and were hit by the heat of the fire. I lived on that block, on the same side of the street, but at the other end. I grabbed a bag and some clothes, and almost wasn't allowed to move my car (which was parked off the alleyway). The next day, a group of us walked down West Broad Street with Bill Pantele, who was then the president of Richmond City Council. It was like walking through a war zone, with cars melted to the street, and debris everywhere. Beyond some water damage to my apartment, I made it out unscathed


Tayl44 t1_jdiqyut wrote

Sure do. Crazy times.


maniarva t1_jdjocah wrote

The building was under construction so it was very vulnerable the fire retardant materials and sprinkler system were not installed yet. Wind was blowing smoldering embers of insulation that were causing house roofs in Carver to catch fire


Walkabouts t1_jdjzvf2 wrote

I lived 2 blocks away and wandered over in the middle of it. Even a full block behind the building with a parking lot between us it was too hot to stand there. Had to hide behind a brick wall and peek out or walk back to the far side of the street. Craziest fire I've seen in person, and really had me questioning going to VCU after Gaston flooded the whole place as well.


WeedyMegahertz t1_jdlkurk wrote

I was living on the 900 block of Grace above Absolute Art at the time. We noticed dark gray clouds outside like a bad storm was coming, got up to look out the window, and realized the dorms were on fire.

We turned 900 block into a party. Lots of our friends showed up, the cops had the roads blocked off, and we all just watched the shit burn to the ground while we skateboarded around and had mass chills on the stoop.

Embers were blowing everywhere and setting roofs in Carver on fire, we were somewhat concerned places on Grace would start catching, but that didn't happen.

This was Old(er) Grace. No 5 story buildings built down the block like it is now...Little Ceasers, Vito's Pizza, Mr. Submarine, Panda Garden (I think it was still there, could have been Panda Veg by then), Ipanema was there already, parking lots, homeless people, pissy alleyways...reminds me of home...grandma's house biscuits and gravy just thinking about it.

929 was the Nancy Raygun at the time, iirc, and Def Jux was having a showcase play that evening. Jean Grae, C Rayz Walz, Mr. Lif, and the Perceptionists were playing. After all the excitement died down that night, just popped over and enjoyed a fantastic hip hop show with the homies.

So basically this was in the top 10 most memorable, neat days of my life lol. I think I've still got the physical newspaper from the day after somewhere.


wagonboss t1_jdj823r wrote

There was a photo of an old RFD pumper with the hose bed on fire from this, legit JOB right there

The aftermath photo is in there


throwingutah t1_jdjfvgs wrote

That's the one the union owns now.


wagonboss t1_jdjl98p wrote

Ya know, I wanted to put that in there, but I wasn’t 100% certain. Those old seagraves served the city well


[deleted] t1_jdkkip0 wrote



wagonboss t1_jdln280 wrote

Quints have no business in a busy department. I know that there is varying opinions of them, but small cities and slower departments is where they belong.

That was an absolute flop for RFD.


throwingutah t1_jdnjhrg wrote

The shot of the one quint with the nozzle still in rescue mode pretty much encapsulates the experience.


canquilt t1_jdjg5ry wrote

I worked at SERL and lived on Broad. That fire was crazy.


chasetwisters t1_jdkfxyu wrote

I remember driving down Route 1 heading toward Virginia Center and seeing the smoke plain as day all the way up there


seaybl t1_jdkiv8h wrote

I was in class with Dr. Z. (Psyc major). I remember her stopping class, escorting us all outside, we walked across campus and watched it burn. Crazy times


Creep_Stroganoff t1_jdkk6ze wrote

Does anyone remember the Evacuation Fire in 1865?


Far_Pollution_2920 t1_jdkyve4 wrote

I was a sophomore living in a high rise apartment building that overlooked that corner at the time. I remember watching the fire out my balcony and on the news at the same time, it was surreal.


adr0ck6 t1_jdlycm2 wrote

Yep, was at VCU. Started drinking early that day to go watch the main event. I remember how hot it was even blocks away


RCBilldoz t1_jdmdw1t wrote

It was soo hot, we were a block away and still had to duck behind cars to keep cool.

If the wind was blowing south it would have been my office (I was working on Franklin at the time)

We had just finished lunch, and saw the first bit of smoke come out. Crazy!


M-in-RVA t1_jdngl19 wrote

I didn't know when it was, but yes! I think I was working downtown and ended up having to walk to the greyhound station (instead of taking the grtc) because Broad Street was a giant mess.


VomitEverywhere t1_jdnl8sd wrote

Yeah! I was working at the Starbucks in Carytown at the time. I remember I was arriving to work when I noticed a huge cloud of smoke coming up from the horizon to the east. I remember wondering if we had just been hit by a terrorist attack (9/11 was still pretty fresh in our minds at this point). I quickly learned it was a fire.

Was that the same time that they were having gas leaks which caused them to close off certain blocks?


dauntingrat t1_jdoao8i wrote

wow!!! i can see the window of the apartment i live in right now. crazy how much has changed over 20 years.


wellthatsoundsgreat t1_jdiur40 wrote

lol @ the first line of the article: “Fifteen years ago today, fire crews were battling one of the biggest fires in Richmond history…”

Well there was also that big one in the 1860s. Might have been a little bigger, who could say?