Your modern home may burn hotter and faster, leaving you minutes to get out. Here’s why

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Less than three minutes: that's what firefighters say you have to escape a fire in your home these days.

There are two reasons why fires today are burning hotter and faster than ever before.

Firefighters around the nation are demonstrating that scary fact.

“Fires today burn about 15 times hotter than about 20 years ago,” Captain Eric Ashley said.

Firefighter Eric Ashley and his crew are kept plenty busy.

He says there are two main factors working against you in a fire now.

The first - newer homes are burning quicker thanks to how they're built.

“Much of the construction is engineered using glue, laminates, and stuff to make lumber out of fibers and it burns and produces very toxic smoke,” he said.

Newer homes also have more open layouts -- allowing smoke and flames to spread.

And then there's what's inside.

“About 30 years ago most home furnishings consisted of wool, cotton, and regular wood. Today, most of them are metal with synthetic materials,” Captain Ashley said.

Those also burn hotter and faster -- Within a matter of seconds, flames can spread in the living room engulfing the space in a matter of minutes.

With fires today burning hotter and faster than ever before, there is one thing that firefighters say you can do every night to protect yourself - close the door as you go to bed,”

“It`s about that compartmentalization,” Ashley said.

It's so important firefighters have embraced the slogan “close before you dose.”

“That door will protect you in your bedroom for about 15 minutes. That keeps the smoke and heat from penetrating into the bedroom, allowing you to be alert and escape,” Ashley said.

But it only works if you have a working smoke alarm in your home, and you heed the warning when it goes off.

“As soon as they hear the smoke alarm, don`t take time to investigate, gather your family, gather your pets, and immediately evacuate,” Ashley said.

Doing that is your best chance to survive.

With fires burning hotter and faster it's now a race against the clock if one ever breaks out in your home.


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