WASHINGTON D.C. -- The Department of Homeland Security's United States Fire Administration (USFA) has issued a report today examining the causes, and characteristics of fires occurring in residential structures and buildings. The report, Residential Structure and Building Fires, was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of USFA. The report is based primarily on 2005 NFIRS data and the 2005 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) survey data.
The report presents an overview of residential structure fires and trends for one-and two-family, multifamily, and other residential structures. This report also addresses residential building fires for each of the three residential occupancy types.
"Most fires and related deaths and injuries in residences are preventable," said United States Fire Administrator Greg Cade. "It is important that you take the necessary precautions to ensure your home is fire safe. Install and maintain smoke alarms and sprinklers, and establish and practice your escape plan. By being prepared, you can help reduce the chances of fire injury or even death."
In 2005, there were an estimated 396,000 residential structure fires, resulting in 3,055 civilian fire deaths, 13,825 civilian injuries, and $6.9 billion in loss. Cooking (41 percent) and heating (13 percent) are the leading causes of residential building fires. Cooking also accounts for approximately 25 percent of fires that injure civilians. Smoking (20 percent) is the leading cause of fatal residential building fires.
Fires in residential buildings -- a subset of residential structures -- accounted for 95 percent of residential structure fires and fatal fires, 97 percent of residential structure fires with injuries, and 95 percent of fires with dollar loss. There were an estimated 376,500 residential building fires in 2005. These fires claimed the lives of 2,895 civilians and injured an additional 13,375 civilians.
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.