Leading Causes of Home Fires

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  silhouette of houses during nighttime
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:

  • There were 1,342,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,390 civilian deaths, 14,650 civilian injuries, and $10.6 billion in property damage.     
  • 475,500 were structure fires, causing 2,950 civilian deaths, 12,775 civilian injuries, and $7.9 billion in property damage.    
  • 173,000 were vehicle fires, causing 280 civilian fire deaths, 1,075 civilian fire injuries, and $933 million in property damage.    
  • 662,500 were outside and other fires, causing 85 civilian fire deaths, 650 civilian fire injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage.

The information in this post was published by National Fire Protection Association.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

The full report can be downloaded by clicking on this link.

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