Understanding Fire – How a Home Fire Spreads

In order to protect yourself from a home fire, it’s essential to understand how a fire acts. When a fire occurs in your home, you only have a few minutes to escape. There is no time to collect valuables once you hear the smoke alarm, especially at night. Here are some fundamental facts about home fires that show how dangerous they are and why you have precious little time to get away:

  • Fires can get out of control very quickly - usually in less than 30 seconds from the event that caused them. In homes and properties with synthetic furniture and furnishings, fires can spread even faster due to the flammable nature of the materials.
  • After about a minute, smoke begins to fill the room. At first, it rises to the ceiling, then it descends, until the room is entirely filled with smoke. Fire produces black smoke that makes it very difficult to see anything, not to mention that it contains toxic chemicals that cause drowsiness and asphyxiation.
  • The temperature in the room increases steadily. In fact, heat and smoke cause more deaths than the actual flames. After about 3 minutes, the temperature can reach 600 degrees at eye level, and breathing this hot air will severely burn your lungs. This is also the point where fire spreads to other rooms.
  • After about 4 to 5 minutes, the heat in the room of origin increases so much that it causes everything to ignite. This is called a flashover. Flames and smoke can be visible from the outside, through windows or other openings. Rescuing victims may not be possible at this point.
  • Fire reaches its fully developed stage when it has spread over all available fuel (furniture, walls, etc.) and the temperature has reached its peak.

To be prepared for a fire, install smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire sprinkler system in your home. Making a fire escape plan is also extremely important. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.

PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company.  Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more.