Download our free report to learn more about the characteristics of residential building fires.
Residential Building Fires (2009–2011)
- An estimated 360,900 residential building fires were reported to United States fire departments each year and caused an estimated 2,495 deaths, 13,250 injuries and $7 billion in property losses.
- Cooking was the leading cause of residential building fires (46 percent). Nearly all residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (94 percent).
- Residential building fire incidence was higher in the cooler months, peaking in January at 11 percent.
- Residential building fires occurred most frequently in the early evening hours, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 to 8 p.m., when cooking fires are high.
- Nonconfined residential building fires most often started in cooking areas and kitchens (22 percent).
- In 48 percent of nonconfined residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading causes of these larger fires were electrical malfunctions (16 percent), unintentional or careless actions (16 percent), intentional (12 percent) and open flame (11 percent).
- The leading factor contributing to ignition category was misuse of material or product (37 percent).
- Smoke alarms were not present in 22 percent of the larger nonconfined fires in occupied residential buildings. This is a high percentage when compared to the 3 percent of households lacking smoke alarms nationally.
- Fatal Fires in Residential Buildings (2009-2011) (PDF, 705 Kb)
- Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2009-2011) (PDF, 840 Kb)
- Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Buildings (2009-2011) (PDF, 1 Mb)