SPECIAL REPORT: Newer furniture linked to faster house fires - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

SPECIAL REPORT: Newer furniture linked to faster house fires

(Source:KWES) (Source:KWES)
MIDLAND, TX (KWES) -

30 years ago, you had about 17 minutes to evacuate your home before the flames completely took over your house. Now, that number is down to just three to four minutes.

Fire experts believe that the way new homes are built and the furniture inside of those homes are making the fire spread quicker than ever.

"Homes maybe years ago, the materials were more of a cellulose batting or wool, and the coverings were wool, which burned a lot slower," said Midland Fire Marshal, David Hickman. 

Now, when buying furniture, you tend to see more petroleum based products that catch fire more quickly.

"More of the lower end furniture I would say probably polyurethane foam and synthetic coverings are petroleum based and that's why they burn more proficiently," said Hickman. 

The location of your furniture is also something to be aware of. 

Hickman says the fuel package plays a big role in just how fast these couches and objects can catch fire. For instance, leaving your couch away from walls and corners, and even other objects may save you an extra few minutes.

"It's proven scientifically that say, couches or things that are in corners, or against walls actually burn hotter than they would in the middle of the room because there's less air entrainment 360 degrees around the material," said Hickman. 

Some states even require you to buy furniture that has fire-retardant materials and fire marshals everywhere recommend you do the same with your next furniture package. 

Hickman says you can find those types of couches that have those types of materials by simply asking for it. 

Along with buying the right type of couches, smoke detectors have also come a long way in the last 30 years, helping you make a safe escape if you ever find yourself inside a burning house. 

"When you first start having the minute particles of combustion, then those smoke detectors will pick that up early on and give you sufficient warning to one, be able to notify everyone in the house, two, call 911, and three, do an evacuation," said Hickman. 

The fire marshal also wants to remind everyone to immediately contact 911 and do not try to fight the fire yourself if you ever find yourself in a situation like that. 

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