What Happens During a House Fire

  • By Jeremy Thompson
  • 03 Mar, 2014
The temperatures drop and the amount of home fires increase. Home fires occur more during the winter than any other season. Approximately 905 people die each year in winter home fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The administration also reports that $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs during winter home fires. About 67% of winter […] The post What Happens During a House Fire appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
The folks at This Old House (TOH) offer a great explanation of what happens in a typical kitchen fire. Since cooking fires are the cause behind about half of all fires, they use a stovetop fire to describe what happens from beginning to end.
Ignition:The fire ignites. In the TOH example the fire occurs when a pot or pan boils over, causing oil to spill directly onto the stovetop flame or burner. It only takes a few hundredths of a second for fatty substances to ignite.
First 30 Seconds:It only takes a few seconds after a flame-up for the fire to spread. Flames will travel across the stove. The oily residue on cooking utensils can ignite, and any other combustible materials around the stove, including paper towels or dish towels, will begin to burn. This is a critical point to extinguish the fires. Remember never move the pot/pan, or use water to attempt to extinguish the flames. Instead cover the pot/pan with a lid.
30 Seconds to 1 Minute:The fire spreads igniting more objects including wooden cabinets, wallpaper and curtains. A dense plume of hot, smoky air develops, which can burn your breathing passages. The fire generates poisonous gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, and it only takes a few breaths of it to cause someone to pass out.
1 to 2 Minutes:The flames intensify, spreading heat to other parts of the kitchen. Cyanide and carbon monoxide levels increase. In an enclosed fire room, the typical level of these gases is 3,400 parts-per-million, which cuts survival time to less than one minute. The poisonous smoke begins to travel, and once it reaches a vent or the top of a doorway it can begin to travel through halls and up stairwells.
2 to 3 Minutes:The fire continues to burn cabinets, countertops and shelves and anything within them including dry goods, containers and cardboard boxes. This generates more heat, making the upper level of gases rise up to 400 degrees F, which is hot enough to kill someone. The smoke may now include other toxic components from the items being burned including arsenic (a wood preservative), lead (from paint) and other toxins such as ammonia and hydrogen chloride. The fire is now hot enough to spread not only by direct flame contact but also by auto-ignition. Objects spontaneously begin to burn without even touching the flames.
3.5 Minutes:The heat reaches as high as 1100 degrees F and flashover occurs. Everything in the room can burst into flames. Oxygen is sucked out of the room. Windows shatter and balls of fires shoot out of them. Upper level rooms fill with thick, hot smoke, and because of the high flashover temperatures, all of the rooms throughout the house are at risk.
3.5-4 Minutes:Flames begin pouring through the doorway into neighboring rooms setting carpet and furniture on fire. In the kitchen the fire penetrates the walls and ceiling, sending flames to the second floor.
4-5 minutes:Flames can be seen from outside the home as they travel through doors and broken windows. At this point, it’s much more difficult to rescue anyone on the second floor. Rooms neighboring the kitchen flashover. The materials used in construction impact the damage. Synthetics including polystyrene and PVC auto-ignite at temperatures between 850 and 1075 degrees. Steel plates used in roof trusses start to buckle at 1000 degrees F. The roof may begin to collapse as the blaze burns uncontrollably.
Firefighters Arrive:Firefighters take immediate aggressive action if flames are visible from the outside when they arrive. They’ll use as much as 3,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames. They may also use dry chemicals to extinguish flames, and they may break open windows or cut open the roof to vent off smoke and gases.
After the Fire:Extensive property damage is incurred. Even if flames did not touch a room, the high heat softens glass and melts plastics. Most appliances are ruined as their interior parts are likely melted. The burned or melted plastics and other synthetic materials will off-gas toxins. There are unseen weaknesses in the structure. It is unsafe for anyone to be in the home.
Returning Home:You’ll need permission from the Fire Marshall to enter the home. Smoke damage is severe and permeates everything, leaving an odor that is difficult to remove. Water damage can cause mold to grow rapidly. It will likely take weeks or months to sufficiently cleanup and repair the home to a state that makes it safe and comfortable enough to live in again.
Next Steps
Photo Credit,  State Farm

J. Thompson Builders Blog

By 7052540976 15 Nov, 2017
Some of these considerations may not be in the forefront of your mind, but there is a long list of aspects you need to consider when building a new home. These should help to get you started thinking about some of the most important pieces of the home building process.
By 7052540976 15 Oct, 2017
This home is being built with our client’s specific wants and needs in mind. The homeowner
requested a single family home with a modern contemporary house design. Previously, he lived
in a townhome and desired a more private, spacious residence. A main floor living with a large
space to entertain and big volume ceilings were a must on the client’s list.

The client decided building as opposed to finding a pre-existing home was a better solution for
him because he wants something specific to his needs. He already had the perfect location in
mind and it was time for him to own his dream home.

The area is ideal for this client because it allows him to live in close proximity to his hobbies and
interests and it also allows him the ability to walk to nearby restaurants or bike to the
surrounding shops. This homeowner will be close to everything. He truly loves the location!
The design concept picked is pictured below. In sticking with a contemporary influence, the
design has clean, simple lines that will result in an extraordinary modern home. We combined
elements of residential and commercial materials and design to bring our client’s unique requests to life.
By 7052540976 15 Sep, 2017

You decide that you are ready to build a custom home for you and your family. Now it is time to figure out how to finance your dreams!

Let’s start with the basics. As with any loan process, do your research. Talk to several mortgage companies that specialize or have a strong understanding/history of working with construction loans. Ask questions and voice your concerns. Companies of course want your business, but they also want to make sure they are a good fit for you and what you are wanting to accomplish. Reviews and referrals are strongly regarded these days. They want to make sure you have the best experience possible.

There are several main differences between a construction loan and a regular existing home loan. An individual construction loan may require a longer credit history  or a higher credit score as well as more money down and along the way. It is more of a process, but it is most certainly worth it. With the right builder, the more involved process becomes a piece of cake; but, that is an article for another time.

Home loans can have a 30 year term whereas a construction loan typically has a max of 1 year. “The rates on this type of loan are higher than rates on permanent mortgage loans. To gain approval, the lender will need to see a construction timetable, detailed plans and a realistic budget, sometimes called the “story” behind the loan,” as reported by  bankrate . While your home is being built, it is typical to make interest-only payments. 

If you are thinking, “I don’t have enough money to pay off a newly built home in 1 year!” Don’t panic.

A popular option is the construction-to- permanent financing sometimes called “one-time close,” a “single close,” or an "all-in-one" loan. Upon completion of construction, the remaining loan balance is converted into a permanent mortgage with terms up to 30 years. Like most loans, “the rate and other terms of the permanent mortgage are set up-front when the entire loan package is closed” according to the  National Association of Home Builders .  Construction/permanent loans are offered by many different lenders, including banks and mortgage companies and are a great option for those of us wanting to finance their home purchase over an extended period of time.

Another option is a stand-alone construction loan. This type of loan can be beneficial if you currently own your home and want a smaller down payment option.   Read more about stand alone construction loans.

There are many different loan options. What makes sense for one person doesn’t make sense for everyone. Make sure you find the right product for you and your particular project. If you want to talk over some options, contact us! We would love to hear your ideas and figure out how we can build your dream home.

View our work , read our reviews on Houzz.com , and visit our Facebook page to get inspired!
By Jeremy Thompson 01 Aug, 2017
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By Jeremy Thompson 01 Jul, 2017
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By Jeremy Thompson 15 Jun, 2017
We’ve offered you lots of advice over the years about building a custom home. Here is a condensed version of some of the most important tips to follow. Get on the fast track to planning your new custom home! 7 Tips for Building a Custom Home Pay attention to your subdivision covenants. Yes, these are […] The post Building a Custom Home: 7 Quick Tips appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
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By Jeremy Thompson 15 May, 2017
Building a new home is an exciting time, filled with anticipation and satisfaction as you watch your vision come to life. However, it can also be a little overwhelming when you’re unfamiliar with some of the technical terms. To help remedy this we’ve defined a few of the custom home building terms you may hear […] The post 5 Key Terms to Understand in Custom Home Building appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 01 May, 2017
Whether you’ve just unpacked your first box or you’ve been living in your house for years, chances are there’s something about your home you’ve desired improving. However, before beginning a project there are a few key home remodeling terms you should become familiar with. Understanding these terms will help you navigate conversations with your remodeling […] The post 6 Key Home Remodeling Terms to Understand Before Beginning a Project appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
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