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Flame retardant composite materials are provided which include at least one first paper which comprises carbon nanofibers and graphite oxide particles. The composite materials may further include at least one second paper which comprises carbon nanofibers. The composites may further include one or more structural material layers sandwiched between the first and second papers. Occupant structures are also provided with fire and smoke retardant surfaces composed of carbon nanofibers/graphite oxide particles papers at least partially surrounding occupants of the occupant structures.