The ranking of fire causes can vary from year to year. The rankings here are based on the annual average percentage of fires and losses in 2012–2016. The likely severity of a reported fire can be measured in deaths or injuries per 1,000 fires and average loss per fire.
Causes for Most Home Fires
Leading causes of home structure fires: 2012–2016
40% – Cooking Equipment
15% – Heating Equipment
10% – Electrical Lighting and Distribution
8% – Intentional
5% – Smoking
When Do Most Home Fires Occur?
Not surprisingly, home structure fires are more common in cooler months when people spend more time inside and in the hours when people are awake in the home. In 2012–2016, 47% of home structure fires and 56% of home structure fire deaths occurred in the five months of November through March.
Cooking was the leading cause of reported home structure fires and civilian fire injuries and the second leading cause of fire deaths. Cooking activities caused an average of 172,100 home fires per year. These fires caused annual averages of 530 civilian deaths, 5,270 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion dollars in property damage. Cooking was the leading cause of fires in both one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family homes, but caused a much larger share of fires in the latter (72%) than in one- or two-family homes (38%). While cooking was the leading cause of fires and fire injuries, it ranked lower on the casualties (3 deaths and 31 injuries) per 1,000 reported fires and last among the major causes in average loss per reported fire ($6,600).
Other statistics on fires:
The information in this post was published by National Fire Protection Association.
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