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3 On Your Side: Closing Doors Helps In Fire Survival

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- If your home ever catches on fire you need to know how to get out quickly. Having working smoke detectors and planning an escape route is critical. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan found, there is another thing that may help improve your chances of survival and it's something that most of us have probably never thought about.

A house fire is reported every 87 seconds in this country. More than 2,800 people die in house fires and more than 13,000 are injured.

It took just 7 minutes for this home to become fully engulfed in flames. The fire was intentionally started with a lighter and some paper in a basket, to show first hand what happens when flames rip through a home. Within a minute the couch is on fire. In 2 minutes flames are along the wall and ceiling and black smoke is filling the room.

In a fire the heat alone can kill you. But it's smoke that is the leading cause of death. Most fatal fires happen in the middle of the night while you're sleeping. That's why you should always sleep with your bedroom door closed. Meri-K Appy with the Home Safety Council says, "That will offer you protection from that deadly smoke for a period of time."

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In this room with the door shut you can barely see any smoke, even though fire is raging in the next room. But in the other bedroom with the door open smoke trickles in, then quickly consumes the room. When the fire is finally extinguished in the bedroom with the open door you can see the smoke damage. But it's a different story in the other bedroom. There's barely any sign of smoke or fire.

Again, it's the smoke that is the real threat here. So remember, make sure you have a working smoke detector and start closing that bedroom door at night. It's one simple step to make sure that you wake up in the morning.

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