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Report: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires" (PDF)
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: September 2017

This report examines causes and circumstances of home structure fires reported to local fire departments in the U.S. Estimates are provided of home fires and losses overall, and for fires in one- or two-family homes and for apartments or other multi-family housing. The discussion of major causes includes key findings from the more detailed reports on the topic. Victim age is also included.  

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 358,300 home structure fires per year during 2010-2014, which represents three-quarters of all structure fires. 
  • Home fires caused an annual average of
    • 2,560 civilian fire deaths, or 93% of all civilian structure fire deaths,
    • 12,720 civilian fire injuries, or 87% of all civilian structure fire injuries, and
    • $6.7 billion in direct damage, or 69% of total direct damage in structure fires.
  • On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries and ties with heating as the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Smoking was the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths. Heating equipment was the second most common cause of home fires, fire deaths, (tied with cooking), and fire injuries.  

Leading causes of home structure fires