You now have less time to escape a house fire

Posted at 11:33 AM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 17:09:52-04

Newer homes and newer furniture burns faster than their older counterparts, known as legacy fuels. 

Research from UL says that modern homes burn eight times faster than homes 50 years older. 30 years ago, you would have had about 17 minutes to escape a home fire. Today, your time is down to about 4 to 6 minutes.

New building materials and synthetic fabrics don't hold up as well in a fire. If one item catches on fire in a room filled with modern furniture, "the heat will increase in that room, to what we call the flash over temperature. That means everything in the room reaches the same temperature at one point at the same time and the whole room catches on fire," said Public Information Officer of California City Fire and Rescue, Brandon Vaccaro. 

With entire rooms catching fire at the flash over temperature, the time it takes a furnished home to burn to the ground has dramatically decreased. 

The home used in this demonstration was unfurnished and took about an hour to burn completely. 

The property was part of an abatement burn for California City. "This is an abatement of a blighted property, blighted meaning the property condition has deteriorated," said Chief Jeff Armstrong. Abandoned homes in the city cause safety hazards with squatters living inside and eyesores for the community. 

California City plans to conduct more abatement burns within the next year because of the cost efficiency versus demolition. The burns can also serve as training for firefighters.