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Fighting fire before it starts

June 23, 1999

Drue JonesBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




MONT ALTO, Pa. - Yvette Jones gave Drue, her husband of 18 years, a simple piece of advice: "I told him if he wanted to start a business he should do it in something he knows," she said.

That's how Jones & Co. No-Burn got its start in March.

Drue Jones, a full-time electrician at Frick Co. in Waynesboro, Pa., has been a volunteer firefighter for the Mont Alto Fire Department for 21 years. It's that experience he hopes to put to use in his new business.

After spending so many years battling flames, he now hopes to market a product that may keep them from roaring through buildings in the first place.

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The couple has opened a franchise of No-Burn Inc., a Minnesota manufacturer of spray-on material that is supposed to reduce the spread of fires in buildings. It is applied in frame buildings during construction, before insulation and drywall go up. Spraying, which costs $1 per square foot, takes about 10 hours in an average home, Drue Jones said.

Yvette Jones's part in the business is drumming up potential customers. "I call realtors, builders and contractors, anyone connected with construction," she said.

She has also spoken with an insurance agent to explore the possibility of premium discounts for homeowners who have the retardant applied during construction.

It can't be applied to homes already built but can be mixed with paint to help retard fire, Drue Jones said. It also works on carpeting and upholstered furniture, he said.

"We did a lot of research before we got into this," he said. "The more we learned, the more we believed in it. This stuff works. We even did our own test at home."

Jones said he built two small doghouse-type buildings, sprayed one with the retardant, filled both with newspapers and lit them.

"The one that wasn't sprayed burned up. In the other one, only the newspapers burned," he said. "We tried it on some of our curtains, and it worked there, too."

Yvette Jones said the retardant is nontoxic and noncarcinogenic and slows the burning process. "It gives people time to get out safely," she said. "I don't know why it isn't required in all new buildings."

"It seems like we go for days without anyone calling, but we're spending our time making contacts, getting the word out," Drue Jones said. "That seems to be the hardest thing about this."

"I'm very proud of him," Yvette Jones said of her husband. "He's been wanting to do something like this for a long time."

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