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What is the Number One Cause of House Fires?

What is the Number One Cause of House Fires? Posted on July 11, 2018Leave a comment

The USFA (United States Fire Administration)–in order to record, understand and use fire data more effectively–enlisted the NFIRS (National Fire Incident Reporting System). This agency is responsible for analyzing data from firehouses in local, state and national governments.

They acquire this information to enlighten homeowners of the dangers fires possess and assist in lowering destruction in fire damage. The fire departments write incident reports and send them in to the NFIRS agency. A complete report is processed and released every year in January.


Fire departments participate in this program voluntarily. Higher populated areas are more likely to fill out these reports than smaller departments. This means that the information that is present in the NFIRS reports may be lacking and slightly inaccurate. However, around 38 major fire departments participate in this program.


According to the NEPA (National Fire Protection Agency), the number one cause of house fires is cooking. Reports from the NFIRS also confirm this statistic. Higher kitchen fires are caused by individuals who are not paying as close attention as they should be when using fire. Debris on the stove can catch on fire easily. Grease is another common occurrence when dealing with a kitchen fire. A stove or oven that is not working properly can also lead to a kitchen fire. Mild fires happen quiet often; however, the major fires occur when other tasks are being preformed while concentrating on your cooking.


Approximately 14,000 people were reportedly injured in a house fire overall in 2007. In fact, fire is the third in the list of factors that lead to injury inside the home. The reports states that approximately 4.500 adults and children were severely injured from a kitchen fire. Cooking and hot stoves are one of the leading causes of injury to children. They do not understand the concept of fire and the harm that this can cause to them or the home.


Stove and cooking fires lead to an estimated 480 deaths per year. This is low in comparison to overall deaths in house fires where other factors were involved. Overall, an approximate 2,800 deaths are related to a house fire annually. Nationally, every 3 hours someone is fatally injured in a fire. This is grouped into house, car and other fires in 2007. Approximately 2.2 percent of all fire related deaths occurred in the home from cooking or stove malfunction.

Property Damage

According to NEPA, over $800 million worth of property damage was a direct result in cooking and kitchen fires. Over 140,000 calls came into fire departments about a kitchen fire that was out of control. In 2007, NFIRS reports that over $14 billion of property damage was reported nationally. This includes home fires as well as outside forest fires and vehicles. However, the damage from private homes in all types of fires reach into $7 billion in loss.


The NFIRS has been writing these reports since the late 1990’s. They are trying to assist individuals with protecting their home from loss or relieving injury and death associated with home fires.


Remember, to remove all equipment from the stove top while cooking. Keep children at a safe distance from the stove and oven while cooking. Children can be quick, initiating a rule to keep back to a certain distance is important. Cover pans with grease to reduce the risk of splatter. In addition, cooking on a lower temperature will help keep the grease inside the pan.


Check smoke detectors often. Replace the battery every month. You will also need to replace the smoke detector every 10 years. Keep smoke detectors in every major room in the home, including bedrooms. Install a sprinkler system if possible. Check electronic plugs for warmth. Also, keep cloth materials away from outlets.

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