USFA Releases Residential Building Fire Reports

Cooking is the leading cause of both one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings fires, followed by heating.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) has released two special reports focusing on the causes and characteristics of fires in one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings. The reports were developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center. One- and two-family residential buildings include detached dwellings, manufactured homes, mobile homes not in transit, and duplexes. Multifamily residential buildings consist of structures such as apartments, townhouses, rowhouses, condominiums, and other tenement properties.

An estimated 248,500 fires in one- and two-family residential buildings occur each year in the United States. Annually, these fires are responsible for 2,135 civilian fire deaths, 8,550 civilian fire injuries, and 5.9 billion dollars in property loss. Additionally, there are an estimated 103,000 fires that occur in multifamily buildings each year resulting in 390 deaths, 4,050 injuries, and 1.2 billion dollars in property loss.

The reports are part of the Topical Fire Report Series and are based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for 2007 to 2009. According to the reports:

  • Cooking is the leading cause of both one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings fires, followed by heating.
  • Fire incidence in both types of residential properties peaks during winter months partially because of increases in heating and holiday-related fires.
  • Fires peak over the evening dinner hours in one- and two-family and multifamily residences when cooking fires are prevalent.

Topical reports explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

To view the reports, go to http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/media/press/2011releases/060111.shtm.

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