The leading cause of death in a fire is asphyxiation, by a three-to- one ratio over burns. Fire consumes the oxygen in the air, while increasing the concentration of deadly carbon monoxide and other toxic gases in the atmosphere. Inhaling carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness or death within minutes.
The heat from a hostile fire exceeds anything to which a person is normally exposed. A fully developed room fire has temperatures over 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fire generates a black, impenetrable smoke that blocks vision and stings the eyes. It is impossible to navigate through such smoke, so fire drill participants should practice evacuating buildings by at least 2 routes.