HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Things in the fire service are always changing. One thing is the way houses are built. Modern homes burn eight times faster than homes built 50 years ago. Not only do house fires today burn eight times faster, they also produce 200 times the amount of smoke that a fire would have back then.
Even 30 years ago, a person had up to eight minutes to exit their home in the case of a fire. Today, a person has less than two minutes. Firefighters say this is attributed to the materials modern homes are built with.
Another reason is that homes are being furnished with modern technology and oil-based products.
“50 years ago a lot of the upholstery material were natural fibers, cotton, wool, things like that. Now we are using a lot of synthetics, polyester, nylon, and those tend to burn, actually melt a lot faster,” said Mark Cleck, battalion chief for the city of Hagerstown.
Fire officials say the best thing you can do is to make sure you have working smoke alarms and install sprinklers in your home.