Report: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Lighters"
Author: John R. Hall, Jr.
This report provides statistics on home fires involving lighters as equipment involved in ignition or as heat source and includes information on fires by year, factor contributing to ignition, item first ignited and area of origin.
In 2005, an estimated 9,000 reported U.S. home structure fires involving lighters resulted in 240 civilian deaths, 850 civilian injuries, and $217 million in direct property damage. These include 2,200 confined fires.
These estimates are based on the Heat Source field. Much lower numbers are estimated using the Equipment Involved in Ignition field. It is likely that many people completing a fire incident form do not think of a lighter as a type of equipment. In 2005, based on the Equipment Involved in Ignition field, 800 reported U.S. home structure non-confined fires involving cigarette or pipe lighters resulted in 60 civilian deaths, 190 civilian injuries, and $30 million in direct property damage.
Also in 2005, 100 reported U.S. home structure non-confined fires involving charcoal lighters resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 10 civilian injuries, and $8 million in direct property damage. Before rounding, the cigarette or pipe lighter estimates are consistently well over ten times the charcoal lighter estimates in 2002-2005. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that nearly all the lighter fires defined by Heat Source are also specifically cigarette or pipe lighters. Prior to 1999, in NFIRS Version 4.1, lighters could only be identified as a heat source, not as a type of equipment involved in ignition.