News / Press Releases
July 19, 2010
James Hardie Building Products Spare Family from Massive Fire
Siding repelled heat of 800 degrees, giving family time to escape
Mission Viejo, CA, July 19, 2010 - James Hardie Building Products Inc. (NYSE: JHX) fiber cement siding recently has been credited as a deterrent in a Carrollton, Texas house fire. Homeowners Kate and Kent Freeman, along with their three small children, were unharmed following an intense blaze, which began around midnight on June 16. The fire started on the construction lot next door to the Freeman's home and moved so rapidly that it destroyed the house being built there within minutes before spreading to the Freeman's. The Freeman's craftsman-style home was sided with James Hardie's fiber cement products; officials cited the HardiePanel® as a key reason why the house and family remained safe. For nearly 15 minutes, the siding retarded the fire's ability to penetrate the Freeman's home before the flames finally entered through the home's windows and roof.
"Everyone, including the fire department, the contractors and insurance companies, has told us that the house wouldn't have made it without the James Hardie siding. During the fire, the side of our house took on 700 to 800 degrees of heat without burning," says homeowner Kate Freeman. A testament to the fiber cement's fire resistance, the heat alone was so intense it melted family pictures and set the couch ablaze.
The HardiePanel® Vertical siding limited the effects of the fire to just 30 percent of the house. As a result, the family will be able to repair the house versus completely rebuilding. The fence, windows and outer landscape, however, were completely destroyed. The family has moved to a rental temporarily while their home is being repaired. "We're very grateful for the 15 minutes that the Hardie siding bought us," said Kate Freeman, "It gave my husband time to get my young sons up and out of the house before the fire spread."
James Hardie is the leading manufacturer of fiber cement siding, which is designed to be durable and low maintenance. Fiber cement siding is a non combustible exterior, which means the siding will not ignite when exposed to direct flames or contribute fuel to a fire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has recognized James Hardie for its use in fire hazard severity zones. James Hardie products also can withstand FEMA class 5 floods and hurricane-force winds of 150 mph. Many insurance companies offer discounts for homes with fiber cement siding.
No official cause has been cited for the June blaze. The Freeman's intend to use Hardie siding on the repairs to their North Texas home.
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