Off campus facility

The University of Waterloo Live Fire Research Facility is an off campus facility that forms an integral part of the Waterloo Emergency Services Training and Research Complex (WRESTRC) in Waterloo, Ontario. The Complex, owned and operated by the Region of Waterloo and area municipalities, is dedicated to training the full range of fire and emergency service personnel. As such, it provides an excellent venue for joint research between UWaterloo researchers and the fire service.

The world class UWaterloo Live Fire Research Facility, centrally situated on the Complex, is owned and operated by the University of Waterloo. It is dedicated to the investigation of issues of concern to public safety, the fire service and fire research communities. The Facility itself is housed in a 5500 ft2 free span structure that contains:

  • The Fire and Flammability Test Lab
  • The Large Fire Test Enclosure
  • The Frank Cowan Fire Fighter Test Lab

The Fire and Flammability Test Lab is equipped for small-scale and medium-scale fire performance testing of materials and small items, with a cone and 2MW oxygen depletion calorimeter, smoke density chamber, IMO/LIFT flame spread apparatus and other tabletop flammability test equipment. For more detail please visit fire test equipment.


Floor plan of the UW Live Fire Research Facility

Floor plan of the UW Live Fire Research Facility

 UW Live Fire Research Facility's Burn House

UW Live Fire Research Facility's burn house


The Large Fire Test Enclosure is a large unconditioned test enclosure with a wind generation system capable of delivering winds between 0 m/s and 13 m/s over a 20 ftx24 ft area. Large structures, up to two storeys in height, can be built and tested under various fire and ambient wind conditions, with and without suppression. The variable speed fan system generates crossflows through the facility of up to 13 m/s to simulate a wide range of wind and ventilation conditions in the enclosure. This area can be configured for studies of a variety of large-scale fires, including aircraft or transportation vehicle and fuel spill fires, structural fires or any other custom fire scenario of interest. 

An independent two-storeys burn house is available for full-scale structural fire studies. The burn house is designed to mimic real life structural fire situations and is adaptable to a wide variety of different internal room arrangements with flexible instrumentation.

The off-campus facility is well equipped with state of the art monitoring and measurement instrumentation (see measurement diagnostics or fire test equipment) supported by a 380 channel, computerized data acquisition system. The wide selection of transducers and diagnostic systems include thermocouples, velocity probes, heat flux gauges, gaseous species concentration measurement systems (standard, MS and FTIR), digital video and still cameras and an Infrared imaging system. Complementary to the experimental facilities is a computer processing cluster fully dedicated to research into computational modeling of fires.

Additional pictures of the Fire Research Lab are available.