The stadium where the Cleveland Browns play may be a fire hazard.
That’s not any sort of Factory of Sadness-style wisecrack, or a gratuitous rehashing of the Cuyahoga conflagration. According to the Associated Press, First Energy Stadium in Cleveland may have the same aluminum panels that were present on a London apartment building that became quickly engulfed in flames. Although authorities are still investigating the role of the Reynobond panels in the spread of the fire that killed 80 people, the AP item notes that the panels “are not recommended for use in buildings above 40 feet because they are combustible.”
Arconic Inc., which manufactures the Reynobond panels, identifies First Energy Stadium as a facility that utilizes the product in promotional materials.
“If the materials used on a building appear similar to a known hazard, people need to know that,” fire protection engingeer Douglas Evans told the AP. “Anybody who is inside of these buildings has a right to know.”
A spokesman for Cleveland’s mayor wouldn’t (or maybe couldn’t) say whether First Energy Stadium was built with Reynobond panels, deferring all questions “until after the investigators finish their report on the fire in London.”
For now, then, it’s unclear whether the structure poses any type of enhanced fire risk. But it’s clear that getting an answer should be a major priority for Cleveland, the Browns, and the NFL.