The news station rounded up some key sprinkler advocates for an investigative report underscoring just how quickly today's fires become deadly. (NFPA and others have also researched this topic extensively.) NFPA blogger Tom Lia, also the executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, and other members of the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition discussed the toxicity of today's furnishings under fire and the concerns with lightweight construction materials that are becoming more popular in today's structures.
Also interviewed for the report was Ron Hazelton, a home repair expert with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who explained why today's building materials can exacerbate fire spread. "What happens with solid wood is it begins to burn from the outside in, so the outside may char but the interior of it, the structural integrity is still there so it tends to fail slowly," Hazelton says. "[Lightweight construction] burns hotter and more quickly, and when it fails, it fails almost instantaneously."