Vinyl fencing has been gaining in popularity over the years because of its low maintenance requirements, but who would have thought it would also act as a fire barrier? If it had been a wooden fenceand not a vinyl fencethe fire would have been fueled by the wood and spread, says Roger Rockhold, resident adjuster in Oklahoma for GuideOne Insurance of West Des Moines, Iowa. And a wooden fence would not have stopped the fire from destroying the pastors home.
Rockhold was impressed with the fire barrier properties of the 400 linear feet of vinyl fence that surrounded the home of John Coker, pastor of the Sooner Baptist Church in Midwest City, OK. The fence was extruded by Westech Building Products in Mount Vernon, IN, and fabricated by Midland Vinyl Products Inc., with locations in Broken Arrow and Oklahoma City, OK. A grass fire had started in a neighbors yard, but the fence slowed the fires pace long enough to allow the fire department to extinguish the flames before spreading into the pastors property. Although scorched and partially needing replacement, the vinyl fence saved the home from a major loss.
According to Bill Zell, sales and marketing manager for Westech Building Products, an affiliate of Westlake Chemical Corporation, the severe damage to property caused by fires such as the one in Oklahoma, and by hurricanes such as Katrina and others, has called greater attention in the fencing industry to the special advantages of vinyl fencing. We are seeing a major increase in product awareness and sales of vinyl fence, deck and railing products because homeowners recognize that vinyl is more durable than wood, requires virtually no maintenance and will better withstand the heat from fire and the heavy rains and winds from hurricanes, says Zell.