Report Looks At Causes, Circumstances Of Home Structure Fires

Three hundred ninety-nine thousand home fires were reported in the United States in 2007, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s recently released Home Structure Fires report. The category of homes includes one- and two-family dwellings and apartments.

On average, eight people die in home fires every day in the United States -- a total of 2,865 deaths. Home fires accounted for 84 percent of all civilian fire deaths and resulted in 13,600 injuries. Direct property damage was estimated at $7.4 billion.

The report further breaks down causes and circumstances of home fires reported during the four year period of 2003-2006.

Highlights include:

  • Roughly one in three reported home fires and home fire deaths occur in December, January and February.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires, civilian fire injuries and unreported fires.
  • About 41 percent of reported home fires began in the kitchen or cooking area.
  • Smoking was the leading cause of civilian home structure fire deaths.
  • Heating ranked second in home structure fire deaths (in one- or two-family dwellings and apartments) overall, and was the leading cause of fire-related deaths in one- or two-family dwellings.
  • Heating equipment fires caused the largest percentage of direct property damage.
  • Children under five and adults 65 and over face the highest risk of home fire death.
  • Almost two thirds of home fire deaths occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.
  • Ninety-six percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm.
  • More than half (53 percent) of the people killed by home fires were in the room or area of origin when the fire started.

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