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March 1, 2004 01:09 AM

Broken: Fire door

Mark Miletich writes, "I have walked past this door every day for 16 years."

The door says "Fire door; keep locked." If you click to see the zoomed-out version, you'll see that it's a door without a handle. It can't be opened without a key. This is safe during a fire?


Google: Define:fire door

"a fire-resistant door that can be closed to stop the spread of a fire"

I guess the idea is that it's only unlocked when needed and locked again afterwards. Otherwise it could be left open and thus not fulfil its function as a fire door should a fire break out.

Posted by: Alden Bates at March 1, 2004 05:53 AM

Usually fire doors open automatically when the fire alarm goes off.

Posted by: Jason at March 1, 2004 11:39 AM

A fire door is not the same thing as a fire exit. See definition in first post.

Posted by: nobody at March 1, 2004 03:35 PM

A fire door stops the movement of fire from one part of the building to another. It usually automatically closes when the fire alarm goes off. It wouldn't have to be locked, just latched, but it could be locked.

A fire exit door is what you use to exit the building or get to an exit of a building.

Posted by: Lane at April 7, 2004 02:58 PM

That's the external side of what is probably a fire exit on the inside. The door opens out, that is towards the picture, meaning it is meant to open from the other side. You always want a door opening away from the driection a crowd will be running so people don't die jammed up against it with no room to pull it toweards you.

The breakaway ahndle is another clue, that's there to prevent it frombeing used to try and lever the lockj out and force the door, common on exterior side doors not normally used for entrance, you see it a lot in urban areas.

Posted by: Jim at August 22, 2004 08:41 PM

Just repeating an earlier comment since later posters seem to have missed it..

Fire DOOR = Door that CLOSES to BLOCK FIRE.

Fire EXIT = Door (or other portal) through which one moves to escapes fire.

In other words, there's nothing broken about the door or its signage, technically speaking; the brokenness is in people's misunderstanding of terms.

Posted by: Brian at March 18, 2005 08:29 AM

What you have here is a fire door fitted to what is maybe a cupboard or void area and as such will not lead anywhere. If not kept locked this will allow the passage of heat and smoke to travel to the other floors in the building via cable trunking or holes connecting services between floors. If the door was open then the natural draught would draw smoke and heat up to other floors very quickly just like a stove pipe or chimmney stack would do. You will also find that there is a strip running around the edge of the door making a tight seal. This will swell if heat is present and make sure the door seal is tight.

Posted by: Rick at May 24, 2005 05:21 PM

every ones going to die in a fire

Posted by: andy at June 22, 2005 10:15 AM

every ones going to die in a fire

Posted by: andy at June 22, 2005 10:15 AM

If the door is always locked, never to be used even during a fire. why isn't there a wall there instead?

Posted by: duhduh at December 14, 2005 04:13 AM

Hey! What happened to my comment? It was there but now it's gone. No big deal, it wasn't important. I guess can have its broken moments.

Posted by: Timm at December 18, 2005 04:11 AM

Alden Bates (the 1st comment on this page) is correct. A fire door is there to stop the spread of smoke and flames throughout a building in the event of a fire - doors in the UK which are marked with this sign have to be able to withstand fire for two hours or more and form a tight seal around the edges of the frame to prevent smoke getting through the gap.

The purpose of the sign is to tell people that the door needs to be kept closed (these signs usually read 'Fire Door Keep Closed' - See:

This door will probably lead to a cupboard or other storage area that the owners of the building do not want people to generally have access to and therefore is permanantly locked, so instead of reading 'keep closed' the sign reads 'keep locked' to remind people to close AND lock the door behind them.

It is not designed to be a fire exit of any description - it would be illegal to do this if it were an escape route.

It is also not the external side of a fire exit - if it were it would be labled Fire Exit - Keep Clear, and the lock would be a different type (ones connected to a push bar or other panic device look different)

Posted by: Carl at January 1, 2006 03:48 PM

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