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Modern homes burn 8x faster than older homes

Posted at 11:15 PM, Nov 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-17 23:15:33-05

(KMGH) Do you have a fire escape plan? 

A new study from Underwriter Laboratories finds that modern homes burn up to eight times faster than older homes. That could mean your escape time is just three minutes.

"For us, where our time periods were you know, they used to back in the day talk about 20 minutes, it's more like in the 5 to 6 minute range (now)," said Kinny Tasker, South Metro Fire Training Lieutenant.

The petroleum-based synthetics in modern furniture and other products around the house can burn much more quickly. Those items mean that UL's study found homes built after 1970 burn up to eight times faster than homes built earlier.

"It burns at a faster rate and the flame spread is much faster so it cuts down the time you have to get out of your house," Tasker said.

In a demonstration performed for Denver7 by South Metro Fire, the flames sucked in in as quickly as possible and turned just three pieces of furniture into an inferno. (See video from the demonstration in the player at the top of this story)

"You still see the same amount of deaths that you saw in the 70's but with half as many fires as in the 70's," Tasker said. "That could be contributed to the flame spread and the smoke."