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Study: House fires are more difficult to escape than they were three decades ago

PHOENIX — A new study found residents have far less time to escape house fires today than residents more than 30 years ago, according to

By building, comparing and setting on fire two rooms — one built 1980s-style and one modern day — the study found that currently, residents have just three or four minutes to escape a house fire, compared to approximately 17 minutes back in the 1980s.

Doug Mummert, president of the Phoenix Fire Foundation, said the process was simple, but the results were astonishing.

“They lit these two fires in these two identical rooms, and in the old room…you had about 17 minutes to get out of that fire before the room would flash over and basically kill you,” he said.

Mummert said modern-day, standard rooms contain more synthetic and lightwight construction, which can catch fire in three to four minutes.

In order to protect the home and residents from fires, Mummert said make sure the home is well-equipped with up-to-date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

“Make sure they are well maintained and the batteries are charged and ready to go,” he said. “You need to check those on a regular basis and test them.”

Mummert said families should also have a home escape plan and practice it regularly.

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