The PuroClean Blog

How Does a Fire Spread in a Building?

When a fire occurs in a home or property, there is no time to lose. Occupants have only a few minutes to escape before the fire gets out of control. This is why it is important to understand how a fire acts and how it spreads to the whole building. Once the smoke alarm sounds, there is not time to collect valuables, especially at night. Below are several fundamental facts about home fires that show how dangerous they are and why it is critical to get out immediately:

  • 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 315 degrees Celsius at eye level, and breathing this hot air will severely burn the 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, we strongly recommend installing smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire sprinkler system. Creating a fire escape plan is also extremely important. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.

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