West Iredell Fire Department


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Most home fires result from five general causes!
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By Member Almurray Connor III
January 14, 2021

It may be hard to believe, but NFPA's latest report on Home Structure Fires shows that during the years 2014-2018, five general fire causes accounted for 86% of reported home fires, 95% of home fire deaths, and 83% of home fire injuries.

Cooking was, by far, the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, and was the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Because cooking is such a routine part of our lives, it’s easy to forget the high temperatures and dangers involved.

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and the third leading cause of home fire deaths. Creosote build-up in chimneys was the most common cause of these fires, while fires involving fixed and portable space heaters caused most of the heating fire deaths.

Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was the third leading cause of home fires and the fourth leading cause of home fire deaths. Conditions that make these fires possible can occur long before a fire presents – largely as a result of wiring being installed or repaired incorrectly, or when receptacles, power strips or cords are overloaded, etc.

Intentional fire-setting was the fourth leading cause of home fires and the fifth highest reason for home fire deaths. According to death certificate data from all intentional fire deaths (not just home fires), nearly two-thirds of intentional fire deaths were suicides.

Although smoking materials ranked fifth in terms of home fires, they caused the most amount of home fire deaths during this time period. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 17 percent of adults smoked combustible tobacco products in 2017.


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