What Causes Fire

  • Careless smoking is the leading cause of residential fire deaths. Smoke detectors and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.
  • Arson is the second largest cause of residential fires and residential fire deaths. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries and dollar loss.
  • Heating is the third leading cause of residential fire deaths. Heater fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in the southeastern U.S.; wood stoves are particularly a problem in the northern U.S.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of apartment fires and the second most frequent cause of single-family residential fires. These fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than from mechanical failures of stoves or ovens.
Origins of Fires

Top Ten Areas of Origin

  1. Kitchen 27.1%
  2. Bedroom 12.7%
  3. Den      8.7%
  4. Chimney 8.3%
  5. Laundry Area 3.7%
  6. Heating Area 3.1%
  7. Garage 2.6%
  8. Bathroom 2.0%
  9. Hallway 1.4%
  10. Closet 1.3%

Where Fires Occur

  • The southeastern U.S. has the highest fire death rate per capita
  • People living in urban and rural areas have a much higher risk of dying in a fire than those living in suburban areas and small towns
  • About 65% of all residential fire tragedies occur in single-family homes and duplexes
  • At least 785 fire deaths occur in apartments each year. 20% of all structural fires are in apartments -- typically 60, 000 fires per year.
  • About 80 people die in hotel/motel fires annually. Careless smoking is the leading cause of these deaths.
What Saves Lives

  • A working smoke detector doubles a person's chance of surviving a fire. Approximately 86% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke detector.
  • About 64% of residential fire deaths occur in the 18% of U.S. homes with no smoke detectors.
  • Between 75% to 90% of all residential fire deaths could be prevented if residential sprinklers were used in conjunction with smoke detectors.
  • Residential Sprinklers can now be connected to standard home plumbing systems and activated at the point where fire strikes, minimizing injuries and localizing property damage.