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New trends in building construction, furniture may lead to deadlier fires

Posted at 3:16 PM, May 16, 2016

Firefighters are shedding light on safety when it comes to fires in newer homes. They say new building trends can come at a cost. 

West Metro Fire Division Chief Dan Pfannenstiel says today's building materials and furnishings are raising new questions regarding fire response.

"There's a lot of conversation on a national level," said Pfannenstiel, "Anywhere between the construction features of the building, also the furnishings in the building, and also the floor plans themselves. What used to be built as what they considered a legacy building with dimensional lumber is no longer that."

"So really what it means for us is that the fire growth stage speeds up. All things being equal, and fire attacking at the same time, the engineered product fails sooner than the dimensional lumber."

Pfannenstiel says the time firefighters have to save lives may be getting shorter as building construction continues to evolve. It's why firefighters say prevention must stay top of mind.

"The bottom line is the message they want to continue to send is that working smoke detectors that are interconnected are going to be beneficial." said Pfannenstiel.