House Fires Burn Quicker Today Than 30 Years Ago

Home engineering and construction today is not as safe during a home fire. Research showed some startling results.

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Research shows that 30 years ago, you had about about 17 minutes to escape a house fire. Today it’s down to 3 or 4 minutes. The reason: Newer homes and the furniture inside them actually burn faster. A lot faster.

To demonstrate, Rossen Reports went to Underwriters Laboratories in Chicago, where two rooms were built side by side: one a flashback to the ’70s or ’80s with real wood and many natural materials, and the other a modern one with a lot of synthetic fibers, from the curtains to the couch to even the coffee table.

As firefighters stood by, a fire set to a sofa pillow in the modern room quickly spread across the sofa and jumped to other furniture: a lamp, an end table, a chair and coffee table. Within 3 minutes, flames were going through the roof.


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