Residential Building Fires Topical Reports Released

Fires peak over the evening dinner hours in one- and two-family and multifamily residences when cooking fires are prevalent.

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, One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (2008-2010) and Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2008-2010), were developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center.

Residential building fire estimates:

  • 240,500 fires in one- and two-family residential buildings occur each year.
  • Annually, one- and two-family residential building fires result in 2,050 civilian fire deaths, 8,350 civilian fire injuries, and $5.8 billion in property loss.
  • 102,300 fires in multifamily buildings occur each year.
  • Annually, multifamily building fires result in 400 deaths, 4,175 injuries, and $1.2 billion 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 2008 to 2010. 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 as a result of increases in heating and holiday-related fires. In addition, fires peak over the evening dinner hours in one- and two-family and multifamily residences when cooking fires are prevalent.

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