A fire development simulation model is described which provides estimates of the amount and temperature of the smoke layer produced, the evolution of toxic gases, and the amount of time available from the onset of fire for the safe departure of occupants. Its results can be used to determine the key features of the fire evolution and the corresponding danger to occupants. Studies of this type help to validate or deny the suggested fire scenario and witness statements. Mathematical modeling thus helps to discriminate between alternative fire scenarios by evaluating the consequences and comparing them with observations.
The software consists of data, procedures, and computer programs which simulate important time-dependent phenomena involved in residential fires. Based on sound scientific and mathematical principles, predictions are made of the production of energy and mass (smoke and gases) by one or more burning objects in one room, based on small or large scale measurements. The buoyancy-driven transport of this energy and mass through a series of user-specified rooms and connections is then computed (doors, windows, cracks, etc.). The resulting temperatures, smoke optical densities, and gas concentrations (after accounting for heat transfer to surfaces and dilution by mixing with clean air) are linked to the problem of egress. The evacuation process of a set of occupants may be simulated, accounting for delays in notification, decision making, behavioral interactions, and inherent capabilities.