Plastic Furniture Filling Exacerbates Residential Fires

The New York Times reports today that residential fires are much different than they used to be, largely due to the prevalance of quick-burning plastics in many of our homes. Reporter Joseph Goldstein writes:

Plastic fillings in sofas and mattresses burn much faster than older fillings like cotton, helping to transform the behavior of house fires in the last few decades, firefighters and engineers say. 

With more plastic in homes, residential fires are now likely to use up all the oxygen in a room before they consume all flammable materials. The resulting smoky, oxygen-deprived fires appear to be going out. But they are actually waiting for an inrush of fresh air, which can come as firefighters cut through roofs and break windows.

The article also cites disastrous fires of the past decade, including a tragic 2007 South Carolina furniture store blaze that killed nine firefighters

Read more in The New York Times about how plastic furniture filling has altered fires and firefighting.

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