Expert Explains Why Fires in Newer Homes Are More Destructive, Deadly


Published 07/07 2014 12:40PM

Updated 07/07 2014 12:51PM

TV's House Doctor, Ron Hazelton explains why fires in newer homes are deadlier than fires in older homes and result in less time for occupants to escape, and presenting added risks for firefighters:

Lightweight materials, such as engineered floor systems, along with open construction designs can create more dangerous conditions faster and fail sooner compared to older dimensional lumber systems.

Airtight construction and energy conserving building materials such as double glazed (vinyl) windows, synthetic insulation materials and foam sheathing can make for faster-spreading fires because they keep heat and smoke in the structure, producing a hotter fire.

Open floor plans with fewer rooms, high ceilings and two stories cause extremely fast collapse of a home¹s infrastructure, making fighting a fire inside it impossible.

Contents of today¹s homes -- polyurethane foam-filled furniture and other synthetic objects such as carpet and electronics -- can cause flashover (all contents in room to become involved in flames) causing billowing, poisonous smoke.

Hazelton also explained how homeowners can protect themselves and their families.

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