LAYTON -- Lillian Shermeister did not realize how fast a fire can spread inside a house until she witnessed a demonstration at Layton Fire Station 51.
"It's scary," the 11-year-old Layton girl said after she watched flames gulp up two easy chairs, a computer and a TV set, then roar out of the room within four minutes from when it started.
Her parents, Patricia and Scott Shermeister, brought her and her siblings to the annual Kendal O. Bryant Fire Prevention Awareness Day Open House on Wednesday. They were among 2,500 parents and children who attend the event.
Similar events have been held and are planned at other fire agencies across the Top of Utah as part of the "Have 2 Ways Out" National Fire Prevention Week.
The week officially starts Sunday and runs until Oct. 13.
Each agency offers different activities, but most include a fire demonstration like the one at Layton, as well as rides in fire trucks and demonstrations on how to safely get out of a burning house.
Layton Fire Prevention Specialist Doug Bitton said a fire is reported in a home every 85 seconds across the country. Cooking, heating equipment, candles and electrical failures were the most common causes of fires.
That's why it is important for every family to come up with a plan to get out of a house when the smoke alarm goes off, he said.
The fire demonstration had two parts.
The first part was to show how fast a fire can spread in a room. Most fires can engulf a room within four minutes from starting, Bitton said. The average response time for a fire agency to arrive after the first 911 call is four to six minutes.
The second part of the demonstration was to show how fast a fire is put out in a room that has sprinklers installed. Within seconds after the smoke alarm went off, the sprinklers started working.
Patricia Shermeister said she and her husband have talked to their children about how to leave their home if there is fire but have never had an actual fire drill.
"I think we may have one now," Patricia Shermeister said after watching the fire demonstrations.
Scott Shermeister said he was impressed with how quickly the sprinklers put out the fire.
"I think they should require those in every home," he said.
"Sure, it destroys the furniture, but the structure is still intact and it saves lives."