President of 1-800-BOARDUP, Michael Hosto, bring us the Tropical Fire Report Series from 2007 to 2009

Residential Building Fires (2007–2009) Topical Fire Report Series

  • An estimated 374,900 residential building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 2,630 deaths, 13,075 injuries, and $7.6 billion in property loss.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of residential building fires (44 percent). Nearly all residential building cooking fires are small, confined fires (94 percent).
  • Residential building fire incidence is higher in the cooler months, peaking in January at 11 percent.
  • Residential building fires occur 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 start in cooking areas and kitchens (21 percent).
  • Forty-six percent of nonconfined residential building fires extend beyond the room of origin. The leading causes of these larger fires are electrical malfunctions (16 percent), unintentional or careless actions (15 percent), intentional (12 percent), and open flame (11 percent).
  • The leading factors contributing to ignition category is misuse of material or product (37 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 21 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.

The entire report is available at www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v12i10.pdf.