Synthetic Materials Increase The Danger Of House Fires

Thursday, January 21st 2016, 7:27 am
By: News 9

House fires seem to be an everyday occurrence here in the metro. And your plan for survival is more critical now than ever. It has a lot to do with what's in our houses.

Research has found 30 years ago you had about 17 minutes. Now you have about three minutes. And the reason -- synthetic materials.

1/21/2016 Related Story: OKC Fire Official Offers Tips On Preventing, Escape House Fire

Oklahoma City Fire officials said 30 years ago we had more natural materials in homes, which burn slower. Synthetic material such as foam in couch cushions, bedding and our curtains burn much hotter and quicker. 

Another factor -- fire crews said the structure itself. Engineered wood is now commonly used instead of solid wood.

Even our floor plans allow the spread of fire. Officials advise to close doors behind you in a fire. You can't do that with an open floor plan.

Years ago, OKC Fire Chief Benny Fulkerson said he could get to a scene and the fire would still be in its early stages. That's not the case anymore.

"Nowadays, we may arrive on scene just four minutes after the 911 is received and the flames are already coming through the roof. It's much different than it used to be," Fulkerson said.

In response, the American Home Furnishings Alliance has stated it supports research into the products used in today's construction.

Chief Fulkerson also points out it's not these items starting the fires. Most of the times it's us.