The very clothing that protects us from the elements and sheer modesty permits us to have a sense of style while conforming to societal norms also can go up in smoke and cause severe burns at the drop of a match.
When clothes get hot enough, clothes will burn and emit toxic smoke. For example, if you leave a hot iron on a cotton shirt too long, the heat will scorch the shirt and may start a fire.
If it says flammable, inflammable, and combustible – it means the clothes will readily burn. If it says fireproof, non-combustible, and non-flammable – it means the clothes will not burn. If it says fire resistant, fire retardant, flame resistant, and flame retardant – it means the clothes may burn more slowly and may self extinguish when the heat source is removed.
Different fabrics burn at different rates: Silk and wool clothes are difficult to ignite and may self extinguish depending on the knit and finish treatments. Synthetics like nylon, acrylic, spandex, and polyester may shrink from the flame or catch fire quickly but will sputter and melt to the skin or drop to the floor. Cotton and rayon will burn quickly resembling a fireplace log.
Flame resistant or flame retardant clothes are difficult to ignite, burn slowly when set on fire, and self-extinguish when the flame source is removed. If you move quickly, you can remove the clothes or smother the source of fire.
Children’s sleepwear must pass a more rigorous flammability test than the test used for general clothes. Flame resistance must last up to 50 washes.
Do clothes make the man? Do clothes make the woman?
If you or a loved one has suffered severe burn injuries from clothes that caught on fire, please contact the burn injury law firm, Anapol Schwartz with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia.