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Publication numberUS20060070319 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/956,877
Publication dateApr 6, 2006
Filing dateOct 1, 2004
Priority dateOct 1, 2004
Publication number10956877, 956877, US 2006/0070319 A1, US 2006/070319 A1, US 20060070319 A1, US 20060070319A1, US 2006070319 A1, US 2006070319A1, US-A1-20060070319, US-A1-2006070319, US2006/0070319A1, US2006/070319A1, US20060070319 A1, US20060070319A1, US2006070319 A1, US2006070319A1
InventorsMatthew Flynn
Original AssigneeFlynn Matthew J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Devices and systems for preventing the propagation of fire along cables and methods of preventing same
US 20060070319 A1
Abstract
Several embodiments of a firewall sleeve system for preventing the propagation of fire along a cable, wire, line, pipe, conduit, and the like are disclosed. The firewall sleeve systems comprise a front/male housing with a first flange area and a rear/female housing with a rear/female flange area. Preferably, the rear/female housing and front/male housing are structured and arranged so that their flange areas do not have to be anchored into or cantilevered from a structural element. Moreover, the rear/female housing is frictionally and securely attached to the front/male housing so that the flange areas of each housing are on opposite sides of the structural element and, furthermore, are flush or substantially flush with their corresponding sides of the structural element. Also disclosed are methods of preventing the propagation of fire along cables, wires, lines, pipes, conduits and the like.
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Claims(40)
1. A firewall sleeve system for preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in or through a structural element of the structure, the system comprising:
an insertable front/male housing having a first flange area at a proximal end thereof, a top section with an open portion at a distal end thereof, a bottom portion, and a pair of sidewalls each having a plurality of protruding dimples on an outer surface thereof; and
a locking rear/female housing having a rear/female flange area at a proximal end thereof, a substantially open, top section at a distal end thereof, and a pair of sidewalls having a plurality of locking slots thereon,
wherein the first flange area and the rear/female flange area are disposed on opposite sides of a structural element and the plurality of locking slots is in registration with and frictionally engages the plurality of protruding dimples to securely and releasably attach said rear/female housing to said front/male housing.
2. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 1, wherein the system further comprises a top cover member having one or more locking slots on at least two sides thereof, wherein the top cover member is securely and releasably attachable to the locking rear/female housing at its open, top section.
3. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 2, wherein the cover includes a plurality of bumps on a bottom surface thereof, wherein the plurality of bumps compresses one or more fire retarding materials.
4. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 2, wherein each of the pair of sidewalls of the front/male housing includes one or more dimples that are structured and arranged to be in registration with and to frictionally engage the one or more locking slots to securely and removably attach the top cover member to the front/male housing.
5. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 1, wherein the plurality of protruding dimples and the plurality of locking slots are structured and arranged for so that a gap between either of the flange areas and the structural element after installation is less than about ¼ inch.
6. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 5, wherein the plurality of protruding dimples and the plurality of locking slots are structured and arranged for so that a gap between either of the flange areas and the structural element after installation is less than about 1/16 inch.
7. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 1, wherein the system is structured and arranged so that the system can be securely and removably attached to a structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element.
8. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 1, wherein the medium comprises at least one of one or more cables, wires, conduits, lines, and pipes.
9. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 1, wherein the system is self-aligning and self-adjusting.
10. A method of preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in or through a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a firewall sleeve system comprising a front/male housing and a locking rear/female housing;
providing an opening or aperture in a structural element of the structure;
inserting the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system into the opening or aperture from a near side of the structural element so that a first flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of said structural element; and
inserting a rear/female housing of the firewall sleeve system onto or about the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a second flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of said structural element,
wherein each of the flange areas is on opposing sides of the structural element.
11. The method as recited in claim 10, wherein the method further comprises the step of installing one or more cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like in a pass-through opening in the firewall sleeve system.
12. The method as recited in claim 10, wherein the method further comprises the step of installing a plurality of fire-retarding material in a pass-through opening in the firewall sleeve system.
13. The method as recited in claim 12, wherein the method further comprises the step of securing a top cover member having one or more bumps on a bottom surface thereof to the rear/female housing, wherein the one or more bumps provides additional compression to the plurality of fire-retarding material.
14. A firewall sleeve system for preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in or through a structural element of the structure, the system comprising:
an insertable front/male housing having a first flange area at a proximal end thereof, a top section with an open portion at a distal end thereof, a bottom portion, and a pair of sidewalls each having a plurality of protruding dimples on an outer surface thereof; and
a locking rear/female housing having a rear/female flange area at a proximal end thereof, a substantially open, top section at a distal end thereof, and a pair of sidewalls having a plurality of locking slots thereon,
wherein the system is structured and arranged so that the system can be securely and removably attached to a structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element.
15. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 14, wherein the system further comprises a top cover member having a locking means on at least two sides thereof.
16. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 15, wherein the top cover member includes a plurality of bumps on a bottom surface thereof, wherein the plurality of bumps compresses one or more fire retarding materials.
17. The firewall sleeve as recited in claim 14, wherein the first flange area and the rear/female flange area are disposed on opposite sides of a structural element and the plurality of locking slots is in registration with and frictionally engages the plurality of protruding dimples to securely and releasably attach said rear/female housing to said front/male housing.
18. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 14, wherein the plurality of dimples and the plurality of locking slots are structured and arranged so that a gap between either of the flange areas and the structural element is less than about ¼ inch.
19. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 18, wherein the plurality of dimples and the plurality of locking slots are structured and arranged so that a gap between either of the flange areas and the structural element is less than about 1/16 inch.
20. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 14, wherein the system is self-aligning and self-adjusting.
21. A method of preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in or through a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a firewall sleeve system comprising a front/male housing and a locking rear/female housing;
providing an opening in a structural element of the structure;
inserting the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system into the opening from a near side of the structural element so that a flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of said structural element; and
inserting a rear/female housing of the firewall sleeve system onto the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of said structural element,
wherein the steps of inserting the front/male and rear/female housings include structuring and arranging the firewall sleeve system so that it can be securely and removably attached to said structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element.
22. The method as recited in claim 21, wherein the steps of inserting the front/male and rear/female housings includes the step of inserting said rear/female housing onto said front/male housing so that each of the flange areas of said rear/female housing and said front/male housing are on opposing sides of the structural element and a gap between said structural element and said flange areas after installation is less than about ¼ of an inch from said structural element.
23. The method as recited in claim 22, wherein the steps of inserting the front/male and rear/female housings includes the step of inserting said rear/female housing onto said front/male housing so that each of the flange areas of said front/male housing and said rear/female housing are on opposing sides of the structural element and a gap between said structural element and said flange areas after installation is less than about 1/16th of an inch from said structural element.
24. The method as recited in claim 21, wherein the method further comprises the step of installing one or more medium in a pass-through opening in the firewall sleeve system.
25. The method as recited in claim 21, wherein the method further comprises the step of installing a plurality of fire-retarding material in a pass-through in the firewall sleeve system.
26. The method as recited in claim 25, wherein the method further comprises the step of inserting a top cover member having one or more dimples on a bottom surface thereof, wherein the one or more dimples provides additional compression to the plurality of fire-retarding material.
27. A method of preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in an opening or aperture in a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a firewall sleeve system comprising a front/male housing and a locking rear/female housing;
inserting the medium in a pass-through portion of a front/male housing of the firewall sleeve;
installing a sliding top cover onto the front/male housing to encompass the medium in the pass-through portion of the front/male housing;
installing the front/male housing into the opening or aperture from a near side of the structural element so that a flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of said structural element; and
inserting a rear/female housing of the firewall sleeve system onto the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of said structural element,
wherein each of the flange areas is on opposing sides of the structural element.
28. The method as recited in claim 27, wherein the method further comprises the step of installing a plurality of fire-retarding material in the pass-through opening in of the firewall sleeve system.
29. A method of preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in an opening or aperture of a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a firewall sleeve system comprising a front/male housing and a locking rear/female housing;
inserting the medium in a pass-through opening portion of the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve;
installing a sliding top cover onto the front/male housing to encompass the medium in the pass-through opening portion of the front/male housing;
installing the front/male housing into the opening or aperture from a near side of the structural element so that a flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of said structural element; and
inserting the rear/female housing onto the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of said structural element,
wherein the steps of inserting the front/male and rear/female housings include structuring and arranging the firewall sleeve system so that it can be securely and removably attached to said structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element.
30. The method as recited in claim 29, wherein the method further comprises the step of installing a plurality of fire-retarding material in the pass-through opening of the firewall sleeve system.
31. A firewall sleeve system for preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in an opening or aperture through a structural element of the structure, the system comprising:
an insertable front/male housing having a first flange area at a proximal end thereof, an open, top portion, a bottom portion, and a pair of sidewalls each having a plurality of protruding dimples on an outer surface thereof; and
a locking rear/female housing having a rear/female flange area at a proximal end thereof, an open, top portion, and a pair of sidewalls having a plurality of locking slots thereon,
wherein the first flange area and the rear/female flange area are disposed on opposite sides of a structural element and the plurality of locking slots is in registration with and frictionally engages the plurality of protruding dimples to securely and releasably attach said rear/female housing to said front/male housing.
32. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 31, wherein the system further comprises a top cover member having one or more locking slots on at least two sides thereof, wherein the top cover member is securely and removably attached to the locking rear/female housing at its open, top section.
33. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 32, wherein the top cover member includes a plurality of bumps on a bottom surface thereof, wherein the plurality of bumps compresses one or more fire retarding materials.
34. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 31, wherein each of the pair of sidewalls of the front/male housing includes one or more dimples that are structured and arranged to be in registration with and frictionally engage the one or more locking slots of the rear/female housing to securely and releasably attach the locking rear/female housing to the front/male housing.
35. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 31, wherein the plurality of protruding dimples and the plurality of locking slots are structured and arranged so that after installation a gap between either of the flange areas and the structural element is less than about ¼ inch.
36. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 35, wherein the plurality of protruding dimples and the plurality of locking slots are structured and arranged so that after installation a gap between either of the flange areas and the structural element is less than about 1/16 inch.
37. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 31, wherein the system is structured and arranged so that the system can be securely and removably attached to a structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element.
38. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 31, wherein the medium comprises at least one of one or more cables, wires, conduits, lines, and pipes.
39. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 31, wherein the system is self-aligning and self-adjusting.
40. The firewall sleeve system as recited in claim 31, wherein the system further comprises a sliding top cover member having a plurality of dimples that are structured and arranged on at least two sides of the top cover member, wherein the plurality of dimples is structured and arranged to be in registration with a pair of locking systems disposed the open, top section of the front/male housing so that the sliding top cover member can be frictionally and releasably attached to the front/male housing.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to systems and devices that prevent the propagation of fire along cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like and to methods related thereto including methods of installing the same in a wall. More specifically, the present invention relates to a firewall sleeve system that is not anchored to the wall.

2. Background Art

Wall and fire sleeves, which, typically, are filled with a plurality of cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like, are commonly used in commercial and industrial applications to penetrate fire-rated walls. Necessarily, these wall and fire sleeves also require fire-retarding materials and/or fire-stopping devices to prevent the fire or flames from propagating from room to room along the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like. Typical fire-retardant materials come in the form of pillows, padding, foam, non-hardening putty, materials that expand when exposed to high temperature or flames, and the like.

However, most fire prevention sleeve systems in the United States and elsewhere have been designed for commercial and industrial application. For example, referring to FIG. 3, a firewall sleeve 4 that is anchored into each side of a structural element, e.g., a wall, ceiling, floor and the like, is shown. Because these systems require physical attachment of the firewall sleeve 4 to the structural element, installation can take more than an hour—and, more typically, several hours—to install and may require more than one laborer to complete. For example, to install a typical system, a plurality of patterned holes must be drilled into the wall and, then, posts, i.e. lag bolts, must be installed and allowed to set in the drilled holes. Typically, a template is used to position the post locations and care is taken to ensure that, once installed, the posts register with the holes 2 in the flange 3 of the male housing 6 of the firewall sleeve 4. Once the posts are installed and allowed to set, a gasket (not shown) may or may not be required to be installed over the posts, between the structural element and the flange 3 of the male housing 6 of the firewall sleeve 4. Then, the tray 1 is inserted into the opening in the structural element and the holes 2 in the flange 3 of the male housing 6 of the firewall sleeve 4 are positioned over the posts and the gasket. Nuts are then placed over the ends of the posts and tightened to a desired torque.

With the male housing 6 of the firewall sleeve 4 anchored to one side of the structural element, a female housing 8 can be installed and anchored in a similar fashion on the opposite side of the structural element. Generally, the female housing 8 fits about the tray 1 of the male housing 6. A plurality of cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like then can be inserted in the firewall sleeve 4 amid several inches of fire-retardant material, e.g., fire stop pillows, fire stop putty, and the like.

Alternative embodiments of the above-described firewall sleeve system include cantilevering the firewall sleeve off of the structural element. By cantilevering the firewall sleeve system, anchoring is only required on one side of the structural elements. As a result, there is no need to anchor the flanges of both housings on opposing sides of the structural element.

Such systems, however, were primarily designed for industrial use in, e.g., plants having massive reinforced concrete or cinder block walls. However, for commercial purposes, e.g., banks, hospitals, and offices, in which the walls, more typically, are constructed using lightweight gypsum board and the like, these systems are not economical. Indeed, such anchored and/or cantilevered systems rely on the structural element to support and restrain the forces and moments created by the dead loads of the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like and the firewall sleeve. However, gypsum board walls, which are commonly used in residential, light commercial and industrial applications typically cannot support these loads and moments.

Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a fire-propagation prevention system that can be used with wall and ceiling structures that embody relatively lightweight sheets or panels, e.g., gypsum board, plywood, concrete board, “blue” board, and the like, applied as sheathing over stud and joist-type framing. Furthermore, it would be desirable to provide a fire-propagation prevention system that is more easily installed; cheaper to manufacture; and compatible with non-industrial capacity use as compared to prior anchored and cantilevered firewall systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In it broadest aspects the present invention provides a fire-propagation prevention system that includes first and second members that are each structured and arranged so that a portion of the second member is insertable onto the first member and wherein both are structured and arranged so as to include a securing mechanism such that the second member is secured to the first member. The first and second members also are structured and arranged such that, when they are secured together, a through passage is formed extending between distal and proximal (i.e., opposing) ends.

In further embodiments, the first and second members also are structured and arranged for installation in an opening or aperture in a structural element. In yet further embodiments, at least one of the first and second members, and in more particular embodiments both of the first and second members further include a stop member that is arranged generally perpendicular to the through passage of the first and second members. The stop member also is structured and arranged to protect the outer periphery of the opening or aperture in the structural element and, further, to prevent the first or second member from being over-inserted or sliding further into the opening or aperture in the structural element. In more particular embodiments, the stop member comprises a flange area that extends at least about a portion of the first and second members.

In yet further embodiments, the fire-propagation prevention system includes a fire-retarding, sealing medium that is inserted into the through passage so as to be disposed about and around portions of cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like that pass through the opening of the sleeve system. Such a sealing material is generally characterized by its non-ignition capability as well as its capability to prevent a fire on one side thereof from propagating there through.

The foregoing fire-propagation prevention system yields a system that can easily seal an opening formed in a stud wall or ceiling rafter structure including a relatively lightweight sheet or panel, e.g., gypsum board, concrete board, “blue” board, plywood, and the like, that is applied over a framing structure.

In a first embodiment, the present invention provides a firewall sleeve system for preventing propagation of fire through a structure along cables, wires, conduits, pipes, lines, and the like (i.e., a medium) that are disposed in or through a structural element of the structure. The system comprises an insertable front/male housing having a first flange area at a proximal end thereof, a top section with an open portion at a distal end thereof, a bottom portion, and a pair of sidewalls each having a plurality of outwardly protruding dimples on an outer surface thereof; and a locking rear/female housing having a second flange area at a proximal end thereof, a substantially open, top section at a distal end thereof, and a pair of sidewalls having a plurality of locking slots thereon, wherein the front/male portion slidingly engages the locking rear/female portion such that, the first flange area and the second flange area are disposed on opposite sides of a structural element and the plurality of locking slots engages at least one of the plurality of outwardly protruding dimples to securely and releasably attach the rear/female housing to the front/male housing. Preferably, the system is structured and arranged so that the first and second flange areas are flush or substantially flush with the corresponding side of the structural element or that any gap between the structural element and either of the flanges is less than about ¼ inch and, more preferably no more than about 1/16th of an inch.

In another aspect of the first embodiment, the system further comprises a top cover member that securely and releasably attaches to the locking rear/female housing at its open, top section and that, further, includes a plurality of bumps to compress fire-retarding materials that are installed in the sleeve system.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a firewall sleeve system for preventing propagation of fire through a structure along cables, wires, conduits, pipes, lines, and the like (i.e., a medium) that are disposed in or through a structural element of the structure. The system comprises an insertable front/male housing having a first flange area at a proximal end thereof, a top section with an open portion at a distal end thereof, a bottom portion, and a pair of sidewalls each having a plurality of outwardly protruding dimples on an outer surface thereof; and a locking rear/female housing having a second flange area at a proximal end thereof, a substantially open, top section at a distal end thereof, and a pair of sidewalls having a plurality of locking slots thereon, wherein the system is structured and arranged so that the system can be securely and removably attached to a structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element. Preferably, the system is structured and arranged so that the first and second flange areas are flush or substantially flush with each side of the structural element or that any gap between the structural element and either of the flanges is less than about ¼ inch and, more preferably no more than about 1/16th of an inch.

In another aspect of the second embodiment, the system further comprises a top cover member that securely and releasably attaches to the locking rear/female housing at its open, top section and that, further, includes a plurality of bumps to compress fire-retarding materials that are installed in the system.

In still another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of installing a firewall sleeve system that prevents propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in an opening or aperture in a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:

providing a firewall sleeve system comprising a front/male housing and a locking rear/female housing;

inserting the medium in a pass-through portion of the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system;

installing a sliding top cover onto the front/male housing to encompass the medium in the pass-through portion of the front/male housing;

installing the front/male housing into the opening or aperture from a near side of the structural element so that a flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of said structural element; and

inserting a rear/female housing of the firewall sleeve system onto the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of said structural element,

wherein each of the flange areas is on opposing sides of the structural element.

In a further embodiment, the present invention provides a method of installing a firewall sleeve system that prevents propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in an opening or aperture of a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:

providing a firewall sleeve system comprising a front/male housing and a locking rear/female housing;

inserting the medium in a pass-through portion of the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve;

installing a sliding top cover onto the front/male housing to encompass the medium in the pass-through portion of the front/male housing;

installing the front/male housing into the opening or aperture from a near side of the structural element so that a flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of said structural element; and

inserting a rear/female housing of the firewall sleeve system onto the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of said structural element,

wherein the steps of inserting the front/male and rear/female housings include structuring and arranging the firewall sleeve system so that it can be securely and removably attached to said structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention provides a firewall sleeve system for preventing propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in an opening or aperture through a structural element of the structure, the system comprising:

an insertable front/male housing having a first flange area at a proximal end thereof, an open, top portion, a bottom portion, and a pair of sidewalls each having a plurality of protruding dimples on an outer surface thereof; and

a locking rear/female housing having a rear/female flange area at a proximal end thereof, an open, top portion, and a pair of sidewalls having a plurality of locking slots thereon,

wherein the first flange area and the rear/female flange area are disposed on opposite sides of the structural element and the plurality of locking slots frictionally engages the plurality of protruding dimples to securely and releasably attach said rear/female housing to said front/male housing.

In a further embodiment, the present invention discloses a method of installing a firewall sleeve system that prevents propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in or through a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:

providing a firewall sleeve system comprising a front/male housing and a locking rear/female housing;

providing an opening or aperture in a structural element of the structure;

inserting the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve into the opening or aperture from a near side of the structural element so that a flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of the structural element; and

inserting the rear/female housing of the firewall sleeve system onto the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of the structural element, wherein each of the flange areas are on opposing sides of the structural element.

In still another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of installing a firewall sleeve system that prevents propagation of fire through a structure along a medium that is disposed in or through a structural element of the structure, the method comprising the steps of:

providing an opening in a structural element of the structure;

inserting a front/male housing of the firewall sleeve into the opening from a near side of the structural element so that a flange area of the front/male housing is flush or substantially flush with the near side of said structural element; and

inserting a rear/female housing of the firewall sleeve system onto the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system from a far side of the structural element so that a flange area of the rear/female housing is flush or substantially flush with the far side of said structural element,

wherein the steps of inserting the front/male and rear/female housings include structuring and arranging the firewall sleeve system so that it can be securely and removably attached to the structural element without using an external retaining system that cantilevers the firewall sleeve system from an outer surface of the structural element.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood by reference to the following more detailed description and accompanying drawings in which like numbered items refer to like elements:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a first illustrative embodiment of a firewall sleeve system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an illustrative embodiment of a firewall sleeve system that has been installed in a structural element (e.g., a wall);

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an anchored frame sleeve system typical of the prior art;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an illustrative embodiment of a firewall sleeve system with cables and wires and fire-retardant material that have been installed in a structural element (e.g., a wall);

FIG. 5 provides a flow chart of a preferred method of installing the system; and

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a second illustrative embodiment of a firewall sleeve system in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND ITS PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a first embodiment of the present invention will be described. The figures illustrate a fire-propagation prevention system 20 that is advantageously self-aligning and self-adjusting. The embodied system 20 comprises a front, or male, housing 10, a locking rear, or female, housing 11, and a top cover member 12. Preferably, the front/male 10 and locking rear/female housings 11 and the top cover member 12 are manufactured of metal, e.g., corrosion-resistant steel, stainless steel, and the like, by a stamping process or of a polymer plastic, e.g., by extrusion. Although corrosion-resistant steel and stamping, respectively, are the preferred material and method of manufacture, the invention is not to be construed or interpreted as being so limited.

Preferably, the front/male housing 10 is rectangular or substantially rectangular in shape to provide a pass-through opening. The dimensions of the open face of the front/male housing 10 can be varied to provide any desired face area. Typical face area requirements are about 72 in2, such as a 6 in. by 12 in. configuration, or about 24 in2, such as a 4 in. by 6 in. configuration.

The front/male housing 10 includes a first flange area 13 that is disposed at a proximal end of the front/male housing 10, a partially open, top section 18, which includes a cut-away portion at a distal end of the front/male housing 10, a pair of opposing sidewalls 21, and a bottom portion 19. The partially open, top section 18, pair of opposing sidewalls 21, and bottom portion 19 are structured and arranged with respect to each other to provide a pass-through opening.

The first flange area 13 is structured and arranged to be perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the top section 18, opposing sidewalls 21, and bottom portion 19. One or more of the flanges 13 a to 13 d can be removed without violating the scope and spirit of this disclosure. However, at least two opposing flanges, e.g., flange 13 a and flange 13 c or flange 13 b and flange 13 d, are preferred. The first flange area 13 extends beyond the outer periphery of the opening or aperture in the wall, ceiling, floor, and the like; covers and protects the outer periphery of the opening or aperture; and, moreover, in conjunction with the second flange area 14 (described in greater detail below), provides structural support to the system 20 without having to anchor the flange areas 13 and 14 into or cantilever the flange areas 13 and 14 from the structural element.

A plurality of protruding dimples 15 is structured and arranged on the pair of opposing sidewalls 21 so that the concave portion of each dimple 15 is on the inner surface of the sidewalls 21 and the convex portion of each dimple 15 is on the outer surface of the sidewalls 21. Although, two dimples 15 are shown in FIG. 1 on each of the pair of opposing sidewalls 21, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited because more dimples 15 can be added as needed.

The locking rear/female housing 11 includes a second flange area 14, an open, top portion 22, a closed, bottom portion 23, and a pair of opposing sidewalls 24. The open, top portion 22 includes an opening that, preferably, after installation, is in registration with at least some portion of the open portion of the top, open section 18 of the front/male housing 10. The open, top portion 22, closed, bottom portion 23, and pair of opposing sidewalls 24 are structured and arranged with respect to each other to provide a pass-through opening.

The second flange area 14 is structured and arranged to be perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the open, top portion 22, the pair of opposing sidewalls 24, and the bottom portion 23. One or more of the flanges 14 a to 14 d can be removed without violating the scope and spirit of this disclosure. However, at least two opposing flanges, e.g., flange 14 a and flange 14 c or flange 14 b and flange 14 d, are preferred. The second flange area 14 also extends beyond the outer periphery of the opening or aperture in the structural element; covers and protects the outer periphery of the opening or aperture; and, moreover, in conjunction with the first flange area 13 (described in greater detail below), provides structural support to the system 20 without having to anchor the flange areas 13 and 14 into or cantilever the flange areas 13 and 14 from the structural element.

The locking rear/female housing 11 is structured and arranged to be slightly larger in each dimension than the front/male housing 10 so that the front/male housing 10 can be slidingly introduced into the locking rear/female housing 11. Further, a plurality of locking slots 17 is disposed on each of the pair of opposing sidewalls 24. Preferably, the plurality of locking slots 17 is structured and arranged on the pair of opposing sidewalls 24 so that when the locking rear/female housing 11 is slidingly inserted onto or about the opposing sidewalls 21 of the front/male housing 10, the convex portions of the plurality of dimples 15 on the outer surface of the opposing sidewalls 21 on the front/male housing 10 are in registration with one or more locking slots 17 on the opposing sidewalls 24 of the rear/female housing 11. Moreover, one or more of the plurality of dimples 15 engages one or more of the locking slots 17. The engagement of the convex portion of one or more of the dimples 15 in the locking slots 17 frictionally and releasably attaches the front/male housing 10 of the system 20 to the rear/female housing 11 of the system 20.

Each of the sidewalls 24 of the rear/female housing 11 also includes one or more dimples 15 for securely and removably attaching the top cover member 12 to the rear/female housing 11. The one or more dimples 15 are structured and arranged on the sidewalls 24 of the rear/female housing 11 so that the convex portion of each dimple 15 is on the outer surface of the sidewalls 24 and the concave portion of each dimple 15 is on the inner surface of the sidewalls 24. Although, only one dimple 15 is shown in FIG. 1, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited because additional dimples 15 can be added as needed.

The top cover member 12 facilitates installation of fire-retarding material 35—especially the upper few layers of fire-retarding material 35—about the plurality of cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 that pass through the pass-through opening of the firewall sleeve system 20. Furthermore, to provide additional compression to the stack of fire-retarding material 35, the top cover member 12 can include a plurality of dimples (not shown) such that the convex portion of each dimple is on the bottom surface of the top cover member 12 and the concave portion of each dimple is on the top surface of the top cover member 12.

To frictionally and removably attach the top cover member 12 to the locking rear/female housing 11, one or more locking slots 16 are disposed on each of the side lips 25 of the top cover member 12. Although, only one locking slot 16 is shown in FIG. 1, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited because more locking slots 16 or multiple rows of locking slots 16 can be added as needed. Preferably, the number of locking slots 16 equals the number of dimples 15 on the locking rear/female housing 11.

Preferably, the top cover member 12 is structured and arranged so that, when it is inserted on top of the locking rear/female housing 11, the plurality of dimples 15 on the rear/female housing 11 frictionally and removably engages the one or more locking slots 16 on each of the side lips 25 of the top cover member 12.

Preferably, the locking rear/female housing 11 is slidingly inserted onto or over the front/male housing 10 until its flange area 14 is flush or substantially flush with the far side 31 of the structural element 30. Accordingly, the flanges 13 a to 13 d of the front/male housing 11 are on a near side 32 of the structural element 30 and the flanges 14 a to 14 d of the locking rear/female housing 11 are on the far side 31 of the structural element 30. More preferably, the spacing of the dimples 15 and locking slots 17 is arranged on the front/male housing 10 and rear/female housing 11, respectively, so that the flange areas 13 and 14 are flush or substantially flush with their corresponding side 31 and 32 of the structural element 30 such that any gap between the structural element 30 and either flange area 13 or 14 is less than about ¼ inch and, more preferably, no more than about 1/16th of an inch.

Once the front/male housing 11 and locking rear/female housing 12 have been connected, a fire-retarding, sealing material 35 and one or more cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like (collectively, 37) can be inserted into the opening as shown in FIG. 4. Preferably, the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 are disposed in an orderly or random fashion in alternating layers or levels of fire-retarding sealing material 35.

Referring to FIG. 6, a second embodiment for a retrofit application will be described. The first embodiment applies when the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 are installed after the firewall sleeve system 20 is installed in an opening or aperture in a structural element 30. In contrast, the retrofit application, applies when the fire-propagation prevention system 70 is installed around cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 that have already been routed through an opening or aperture in a structural element 30.

The fire-propagation prevention system 70 of the second embodiment is advantageously self-aligning and self-adjusting and comprises a front, or male, housing 60, a locking rear, or female, housing 61, a sliding top cover member 76 for the front/male housing 60, and a top cover member 62 for the rear/female housing 61. Preferably, the front/male 60 and locking rear/female housings 61 and the top cover members 62 and 76 are manufactured of metal, e.g., corrosion-resistant steel, stainless steel, and the like, by a stamping process or of a polymer plastic, e.g., by extrusion. Although corrosion-resistant steel and stamping, respectively, are the preferred material and method of manufacture, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited.

Preferably, the front/male housing 60 is rectangular or substantially rectangular in shape to provide a pass-through opening. The dimensions of the open face of the front/male housing 60 can be varied to provide any desired face area. Typical face area requirements are about 72 in2, such as a 6 in. by 12 in. configuration, or about 24 in2, such as a 4 in. by 6 in. configuration.

The front/male housing 60 includes a first flange area 63 that is disposed at a proximal end of the front/male housing 60, a pair of opposing sidewalls 71, and a bottom portion 69. The first flange area 63, pair of opposing sidewalls 71, and bottom portion 69 are structured and arranged with respect to each other to provide a pass-through opening.

The first flange area 63 is structured and arranged to be perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the opposing sidewalls 61 and bottom portion 69 of the front/male housing 60. One or more of the flanges 63 b to 63 d can be removed without violating the scope and spirit of this disclosure. However, at least two opposing flanges, e.g., flange 77 and flange 63 c or flange 63 b and flange 63 d, are preferred. The first flange area 63 extends beyond the outer periphery of the opening or aperture in the structural element 30 and covers and protects the outer periphery of the opening or aperture. Moreover, in conjunction with the second flange area 64, the first flange area 63 provides structural support to the system 70 without having to anchor the flange areas 63 and 64 into or cantilever the flange areas 63 and 64 from the structural element 30.

A plurality of protruding dimples 65 is structured and arranged on the pair of opposing sidewalls 61 so that the concave portion of each dimple 65 is on the inner surface of the sidewalls 61 and the convex portion of each dimple 65 is on the outer surface of the sidewalls 61. Although, two dimples 65 are shown in FIG. 6, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited because more dimples 65 can be added as needed.

The top portion of the front/male housing 60 is substantially open to allow the front/male housing 60 to pass around the cables, wires, lines, pipes, conduits, and the like. Further, in lieu of the top portion 18 of the first embodiment, a pair of sliding lock systems 79 are structured and arranged to be perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to each of the pair of opposing sidewalls 71. Preferably, each of the sliding lock systems 79 includes an upper, slotted portion 81 and a lower, solid portion 82 that are structured and arranged to be in registration with and to be parallel to each other. Each of the upper, slotted portions 81 and the lower, solid portions 82 can be fixedly attached, e.g., welded, at or neat the upper edge of the opposing sidewalls 71. Further, each of the upper, slotted portions 81 and the lower, solid portions 82 extends from the proximal end of the front/male housings 60 for a distance of about ⅗th to about ⅔rd the total length of the sidewall edge 71.

After the front/male housing 60 has been installed around the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 but before the front/male housing has been inserted into the opening or aperture in the structural element 30, the sliding top cover member 76 can be slidingly inserted between the upper, slotted portion 81 and the lower, solid portion 82 of the sliding lock system 79 to frictionally and releasably close the open, top portion of the front/male housing 60. Preferably, the sliding top cover member 76 comprises a main section 68 and a flanged section 77 that is structured and arranged to be perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the main section 68.

A plurality of dimples 65 is structured and arranged on the main section 68 to be in registration with the open slots of the upper, slotted portion 81. Preferably, the concave portions of the dimples 65 are on the bottom sides of the main sections 68 and the convex portions of the dimples 65 are on the top sides of the main sections 68. Although, two dimples 65 are shown in FIG. 6, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited because more dimples 65 can be added as needed.

The locking rear/female housing 61 includes a second flange area 64, an open, top portion 72, a closed, bottom portion 73, and a pair of opposing sidewalls 74. The second flange area 64 is structured and arranged to be perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the open, top portion 72, the pair of opposing sidewalls 74, and the bottom portion 73. One or more of the flanges 64 b to 64 d can be removed without violating the scope and spirit of this disclosure. However, at least two opposing flanges, e.g., flange 78 and flange 64 c or flange 64 b and flange 64 d, are preferred. The second flange area 64 also extends beyond the outer periphery of the opening or aperture of the structural element 30 and covers and protects the outer periphery of the opening or aperture. Moreover, in conjunction with the first flange area 63, the second flange area 64 provides structural support to the system 70 without having to anchor the flange areas 63 and 64 into the structural element 30.

The locking rear/female housing 61 is structured and arranged to be slightly larger in each dimension than the front/male housing 60 so that the front/male housing 60 can be slidingly introduced into the opening of the locking rear/female portion 11. Furthermore, a plurality of locking slots 67 is disposed on the pair of opposing sidewalls 74. Preferably, the plurality of locking slots 67 is structured and arranged on the pair of opposing sidewalls 74 so that when the locking rear/female housing 61 is slidingly inserted onto or about the opposing sidewalls 71 of the front/male housing 60, the convex portions of the plurality of dimples 65 on the outer surface of the opposing sidewalls 71 of the front/male housing 60 are in registration with one or more locking slots 67 on the opposing sidewalls 74 of the rear/female housing 61. Moreover, one or more of the plurality of dimples 65 engages one or more of the locking slots 67. The engagement of the convex portion of the dimples 65 in the locking slots 67 frictionally and releasably attaches the front/male housing 60 of the system 70 to the rear/female housing 61 of the system 70.

Each of the sidewalls 74 of the rear/female housing 61 also includes one or more dimples 65 for securely and removably attaching the top cover member 62 to the rear/female housing 61. The one or more dimples 65 are structured and arranged on the sidewalls 74 of the rear/female housing 61 so that the convex portion of each dimple 65 is on the outer surface of the sidewalls 74 and the concave portion of each dimple 65 is on the inner surface of the sidewalls 74. Although, one dimple 65 is shown in FIG. 6, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited because additional dimples 65 can be added as needed.

The top cover member 62 facilitates installation of fire-retarding material 35—especially the upper few layers of fire-retarding material 35—about the plurality of cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 that pass through the pass-through opening of the firewall sleeve system 70. Furthermore, to provide additional compression to the stack of fire-retarding material 35, the top cover member 62 can include a plurality of dimples 65 such that the convex portion of each dimple 65 is on the bottom surface of the top cover member 62 and the concave portion of each dimple 65 is on the top surface of the top cover member 62.

To frictionally and removably attach the top cover member 62 to the locking rear/female housing 61, one or more locking slots 66 are disposed on each of the side lips 75 of the top cover member 62. Although, one locking slot 66 is shown in FIG. 6, the invention is not to be construed as being so limited because more locking slots 66 or multiple rows of locking slots 66 can be added as needed. Preferably, the number of locking slots 66 equals the number of dimples 65 on the locking rear/female housing 61.

Preferably, the top cover member 62 is structured and arranged so that, when it is inserted on top of the locking rear/female housing 61, the plurality of dimples 65 on the rear/female housing 61 engages the one or more locking slots 66 on each of the side lips 75 of the top cover member 62. The engagement of the convex portion of the dimples 65 in the locking slots 66 frictionally and removably attaches the top cover member 62 to the rear/female housing 61.

Preferably, the locking rear/female housing 61 is slidingly inserted onto or over the front/male housing 60 until its flange area 64 is flush or substantially flush with the far side 31 of the structural element 30. Accordingly, the flanges 63 b to 63 d of the front/male housing 61 and the flange 77 of the sliding top portion 76 are on the near side 32 of the structural element 30 and the flanges 64 b to 64 d of the locking rear/female housing 61 and the flange 78 of the top cover 62 are on the far side 31 of the structural element 30. More preferably, the spacing of the dimples 65 and locking slots 67 is arranged on the front/male housing 60 and rear/female housing 61, respectively, so that the flange areas 63, 77, 64, and 78 are flush or substantially flush with each side 31 and 32 of the structural element 30 such that any gap between the structural element 30 and the flange areas 63, 77, 64, and 78 is less than about ¼ inch and, more preferably, no more than about 1/16th of an inch.

Once the front/male housing 61 and locking rear/female housing 62 have been connected, a fire-retarding, sealing material 35 and one or more cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 can be inserted into the opening as shown in FIG. 4. Preferably, the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like 37 are disposed in an orderly or random fashion in alternating layers or levels of fire-retarding sealing material 35.

Having described a firewall sleeve system for preventing fire from propagating through a structure along cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like, we will now discuss a method of preventing fire from propagating through a structure along cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like by installing the fire-propagation prevention systems described above. Referring to FIG. 5, according to another embodiment of the present invention, the first step is to install a proper size opening or aperture in the structural element, e.g., wall, ceiling, floor, and the like STEP 1. In certain applications, installation will be through gypsum board, cement board, “blue” board, plywood, and the like, which can be easily cut, e.g., using a keyhole saw and the like.

Once the opening in the structural element has been cut to the desired dimensions, the front/male housing of the firewall sleeve system can be slidingly installed through the near side of a structural element STEP 2. The flange areas of the front/male housing should be flush or substantially flush with the near side of the structural element and the bottom portion of the front/male housing should be level or substantially level. Next, from the far side of the structural element, the locking, rear/female housing can be slidingly inserted onto or about the distal end of the front/male housing STEP 3. Preferably, as the locking rear/female housing is slidably inserted onto of about the front/male housing, one or more of a plurality of convex dimples on the outer surface of the sidewalls of the front/male housing frictionally and releasably engages the plurality of locking slots on each of the pair of sidewalls of the locking rear/female housing.

The locking rear/female housing is inserted onto or about the front/male housing until its flange area also is flush or substantially flush with the far side of the structural element. According to the present invention, the flanges of the two housings are disposed on opposite sides of the structural element. Moreover, preferably, the dimples and slots are structured and arranged on the front/male housing and rear/female housing, respectively, so that any gap between the structural element and either flange is less than about ¼ inch and, more preferably, no more than about 1/16th of an inch.

In the next step, cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like and fire-retarding material can be installed in the annulus of the rear/female housing STEPS 4 and 5. The fire-retarding material should be capable of preventing fire from propagating along the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like from the near side to the far side of the structural elements and vice versa. Preferably, ACTIFOAM® is used as the fire-retarding material. ACTIFOAM® eliminates the need to caulk the system further. Moreover, those skilled in the art can cut it to desired lengths and widths so that the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like are disposed in an orderly fashion in alternating layers or levels as shown in FIG. 4.

Once the fire-retarding material has been brought to the top of the annulus, the top cover member can be installed STEP 6. As mentioned about, the bottom surface of the top cover member is dimpled with the convex portion of the dimples facing the fire-retarding material. In this way, when the top cover member is locked in place, the dimples provide additional confinement to the fire-retarding materials, which can further limit fire-propagation.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a method of installation a retrofit fire-propagation prevention system. Because with a retrofit, the opening or aperture in the structural element already exists, STEP 1 is unnecessary unless a larger opening or aperture is desired. When a larger opening or aperture is desired, the existing opening or aperture would be widened by means that are well known to the art STEP 7. The front/male housing can then be positioned about the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like so that the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like are in the pass-through area of the front/male housing STEP 8. Once the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like are in the pass-through are, the sliding top portion of the front/male housing can be frictionally and slidingly inserted into the locking assembly of the front/male housing STEP 9.

The front/male housing of the system—now encompassing the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like can—now can be slidingly installed through the near side of a structural element STEP 2. The flange areas of the front/male housing should be flush or substantially flush with the near side of the structural element and the bottom portion of the front/male housing should be level or substantially level.

Next, from the far side of the structural element, the locking rear/female housing can then be positioned about the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like so that the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like are in the pass-through area of the locking rear/female housing STEP 10. Then, the locking, rear/female housing can be slidingly inserted onto or about the distal end of the front/male housing STEP 3. Preferably, as the locking rear/female housing is frictionally and releasably inserted onto of about the front/male housing, one or more of the plurality of convex dimples on the outer surface of the sidewalls of the front/male housing frictionally engages the plurality of locking slots on each of the pair of sidewalls of the locking rear/female housing.

The locking rear/female housing is inserted onto or about the front/male housing until its flange area also is flush or substantially flush with the far side of the structural element. According to the present invention, the flanges of the two housings are disposed on opposite sides of the structural element. Moreover, preferably, the dimples and slots are structured and arranged on the front/male housing and rear/female housing, respectively, so that any gap between the structural element and either flange is less than about ¼ inch and, more preferably, no more than about 1/16th of an inch.

Because this embodiment is a retrofit, STEP 4 is unnecessary. Accordingly, the next step is to install fire-retarding material about the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like in the pass-through area of the fire-propagation prevention system STEP 5. The fire-retarding material should be capable of preventing fire from propagating along the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like from the near side to the far side of the structural elements and vice versa. Preferably, ACTIFOAM® is used as the fire-retarding material. ACTIFOAM® eliminates the need to caulk the system further. Moreover, those skilled in the art can cut it to desired lengths and widths so that the cables, wires, conduits, lines, pipes, and the like are disposed in an orderly fashion in alternating layers or levels as shown in FIG. 4.

Once the fire-retarding material has been brought to the top of the annulus, the top cover member can be installed STEP 6. As mentioned about, the bottom surface of the top cover member is dimpled with the convex portion of the dimples facing the fire-retarding material. In this way, when the top cover member is frictionally and removably locked in place, the dimples provide additional confinement to the fire-retarding materials, which can further limit fire-propagation.

Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been described using specific terms, such descriptions are for illustrative purposes only, and it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7685792 *Jul 6, 2007Mar 30, 2010Specified Technologies Inc.Apparatus for enhancing reinforcing and firestopping around a duct extending through a structural panel
US7992623Jan 10, 2007Aug 9, 2011Keller Komfort Radiant Systems, Inc.Radiant heat wall covering system
US8025240 *Oct 19, 2006Sep 27, 2011Keller Komfort Radiant Systems, Inc.Radiant heat flooring system
US8661757Mar 23, 2011Mar 4, 2014United State Gypsum Company30-minute residential fire protection of floors
EP1865584A2 *Jun 4, 2007Dec 12, 2007Roxtec AbCable intake system
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/220.8
International ClassificationE04C2/52
Cooperative ClassificationH02G3/22, F16L5/04, F16L23/14, H02G3/0412
European ClassificationH02G3/22, F16L23/14, F16L5/04, H02G3/04A2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 1, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: DORN EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FLYNN, MATTHEW J.;REEL/FRAME:015867/0700
Effective date: 20040929