In late fall 1972 a series of deadly high-rise fires captured national headlines and thrust the work of the commission into the national spotlight once more. The Rault Center fire in New Orleans on November 29, 1972 and the Atlanta Baptist Towers nursing home fire of Nov 30th 1972 resulted in 13 fatalities and more than two dozen injuries. At the request of the White House the commission was asked to ascertain some of the facts behind the deadly nature of these tragedies. Chairman Bland issued a statement to the press stating that these two fires underscored the need for codes. “If the people of this nation want a significant decrease in life and property loss, it will result from their insistence that codes be adopted and enforced without deviation.”
These were by no means the only incidents that had punctuated the meetings of the commission during its tenure. Tragedies like the Green Nursery Home fire in January 1972 where nine were killed, the Fair Hills Nursing Home fire near Rosecrans Wisconsin in April 1972 which claimed ten lives and a Springfield Missouri nursing home in May that killed ten more, moved the commissions to try to learn whether in these cases smoke or fire detectors had been in operation at the homes and had evacuation plans been put into place and rehearsed.