Fire-resistant glass may foil terror attacks

A company that sells glass designed to withstand blowtorch flames said its product could help protect buildings from future terrorist attacks.Pilkington North America opened a processing facility in Toledo in December to sell the fire-resistant glass, which has been available in Europe for 20 years.

Among its customers is the Smithsonian Institution's new American Indian museum in Washington.

The previously weak North American market for the glass improved after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, plant manager Bret Penrod said. The glass is expensive, he said, and U.S. builders typically use sprinkler systems and other means of fire protection.

On Friday, the company enlisted Mayor Jack Ford for a demonstration of the product's ability to withstand flames from a blowtorch. Ford held his hand up to a pane while a worker blasted the other side with a stream of 1,400-degree flame.

As one side of the glass clouded and cracked, the opposite side remained cool to Ford's touch. Layers of insulation in the glass are designed to withstand intense fire for up to two hours.

The Toledo plant employs 10 people who process shipments of the German-made Pyrostop glass, and cut and trim the panes to order. The company hopes to generate enough sales to start production in Toledo.

600450 Fire-resistant glass may foil terror attacks

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