Home fires today spread 7 times faster than 40 years ago, study says

New research from Underwriters Laboratories shows that home fires today spread 7 times faster than 40 years ago.

UL says you only have 3 minutes to escape the average fire, compared to 17 minutes in 1980.

The reason for the speed-up is the increase in plastics and other synthetic materials.

"It burns so much faster - plus all the open floor plans. Those open spaces provide more air to the fire," said Steve Kerber, UL Firefighter Safety.

UL says every home needs smoke detectors - You can also gain precious escape time by closing bedroom doors at night.

Their test shows how a closed door keeps harmful smoke out.

More than half of all deadly fires occur at night - so their message is "close before you doze."

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