Fires kill more Americans each year than any other type of natural disaster. It can also cause extensive damage to property.
According to Consumer Safety Director John Drengenberg of Underwriters Laboratories: “Today, with the prevalence of synthetic materials in the home, occupants have roughly 2 to 3 minutes to get out.” Before this number averaged 14 – 17 minutes because houses were built with more robust materials.
Now houses are much more flammable, which in a large part has to do with mostly wooden framing and synthetic cladding and insulation. A homeowner in Texas recently learned about the importance of insurance coverage for fires.
Among the fire damage claims in Texas, this past week was a small home that caught fire. The Amarillo Fire Department received a call for a ‘structural fire’ at around 10:50 a.m. They arrived to find the home filled with smoke and talked to the homeowner who discovered the fire while doing some plumbing. The firefighters discovered the fire was in-between the exterior brick wall and the interior wall of the home. This meant they had to break through the wall to put out the flames and prevent further damage. However, the fire department stressed that although it appears firefighters are doing more damage, they are actually helping it from getting worse.
How Fires Start
Many fires begin on the stovetop when flammable contents spill out and hit a gas fire or an electric coil. This contact causes fat or grease to burst into flames and can catch on any towels, napkins, or other materials we usually leave lying around. To get a sense of how serious a stove fire can be, when set on ‘high’ stove temperatures can reach 1000 degrees. When things begin to burn, they release toxic gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. These gases can affect our ability to put out the fire because they restrict our oxygen supply.
The toxic gases rise with the hot air and quickly fill up any available space. Because of how quickly this can happen, it is crucial to put out the fire immediately, otherwise, the only option is to evacuate. Also, there are different ways to put out different fires. Most types can be put out with a bucket of water, but this will only aggravate a grease fire, which repels water. What you can do in this case is cover the grease fire with a lid or a metallic sheet to cut off the oxygen that fuels it. You will also have to report how the fire started and what you did to try and put it out in your fire damage claims.
In total, the small home fire in Amarillo, Texas caused about $5000 worth of damage, which was reported in fire damage claims. It is important to note that it could’ve been much worse. The house is valued at approximately $93,000 and five grand is a small price to pay. While firefighters didn’t comment on the cause of the fire, this example highlights the importance of insurance coverage. A fire is not something to take lightly and can consume an entire house in the blink of any eye.