Kent and Kate Freeman of Carrollton, Texas were asleep with their three children when their home caught fire at midnight. The fire began in a nearby lot where a house was under construction, and the fire spread to other houses, including theirs. Witnesses said the flames were already in the exterior of the Freeman home but remained there for about 15 minutes before it managed to burn windows and roofs and enter the house—giving the family ample time to leave the blazing structure.
What could have prevented the fire from entering the Freeman home immediately? The answer became clear after firefighters surveyed the scene and put two and two together: fiber cement siding. The Freeman house was covered with fire-resistant James Hardie HardiePanel® siding.
When blogger Ted Cushman first heard of this story, he did not believe it immediately. Cushman was a former news desk anchor and editor at Hanley Wood’s Journal of Light Construction and is now a freelance writer covering the home building industry. He writes in his blog in Builder online:
I don’t like to pass along press releases without a little critical examination. So I ran this story past a seasoned firefighter out on the West Coast, Cliff Hunter. Cliff is the Fire Marshal for Rancho Santa Fe.
Cliff told me that yes, Hardie’s cement siding products have a proven track record in resisting wildfire, and also in slowing the spread of fire from one house to the next. Communities that rebuild after a major conflagration sometimes choose HardieBoard for that reason, he said.
Cliff Hunter also told Cushman that most of the homeowners who lost ‘50s-style cottage homes in the 2007 wildfire in Witch Creek, CA have decided to install James Hardie siding when they had their homes rebuilt. Knowing these stories, if you plan to have siding repair in Twin Cities, MN, fiber cement would be the smart choice.
Fire resistance is just one of the many advantages of this siding material. Fiber cement is also resistant to moisture and impact, as well as to rotting and damage caused by insects and pests. It doesn’t expand or contract when the weather changes, and adapts to the style and color you require for your home.
Twin Cities siding contractors, such as Twin Cities Siding Professionals, offer various James Hardie fiber cement siding options, including HardiePlank, HardieZone, HardieShingle and HardieWrap.
(Article information and image from Fiber-Cement Siding and Fire, Ted Cushman: The Ten-Penny News)