AUGUSTA – Eleven people in Maine have perished in fires so far this year, three within the last week.
State Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas on Tuesday warned residents to leave burning homes the second they are alerted. He said homes are burning faster because they are filled with materials made from plastics and synthetics.
“We’re seeing a greater intensity of fire in a quicker amount of time,” Thomas said. “The amount of time you have in a survivable environment to get out is greatly reduced. Most recent studies shows that you’re down in the three minute mark.”
Three minutes is just not enough time to look for your cellphone or try to put out the fire by yourself, Thomas said. He said people should leave immediately, meet up with family at a pre-planned location and then call for help.
Working smoke detectors are another key to survival.
Maine averages between fifteen and twenty-five deaths by fire annually.