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TOP 5 Causes of House Fires

These are Top-5 causes of home structure fires and they need to be taken seriously. House fires claim thousands of lives and cause billions of $ loss. Some of the causes may seem to be easily avoidable. Nonetheless the tragedies keep happening every day. To prepare for emergency you need to be aware of possible dangers.

1. Cooking

Cooking, our everyday activity, is the number 1 leading cause of home fires. How many times you were distracted while preparing some dish and it got spoiled or burned? And if you were to get distracted long enough pots and pans would easily overheat which is often  the cause of fire. Unfortunately, people leave cooking unattended on a daily basis, endangering themselves and everyone around.

Top-5 causes of home structure fires

2. Heating

Up until recently heating equipment was a leading source of home fires in U.S. Among different types of heating devices space heaters is the #1 type most often involved in emergencies. People neglect basic safeguard measures like keeping heaters away from flammable objects (i.e. furniture, clothes and curtains).

Heating Equipment - cause of fire

3. Electrical equipment failure

Electrical malfunctions are still among the Top-5 leading causes of home fires in U.S. A frayed cord, an overloaded power point, a general overuse of electricity – the list is long.  Unfortunately electrical failures account for the one of the highest shares of civilian deaths.  The rate of fires steadily goes up in the cold winter months.

Home Fires due to Equipment Failure

4. Smoking

Even though the number of people who smoke goes down in general it is still one of the main sources. Not so long ago smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths (according to NFPA from 2012 till 2016). Moreover, fires originating in the living room caused almost half of all the deaths.

Top 5 Home Fires sources -  Smoking


5. Decorations. Candles

Candles are responsible for starting more than 1/3 (36%) of home decorations fires. The embodiment of romantic atmosphere left unattended turns into a tragedy way too often. Hundreds of deaths and hundreds of millions USD in property damage.  As the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays approach the number of fires caused by candles sky rockets.

House fires started by Decorations - Candles


The order of fire causes may vary from country to country or even from state to state. But the reasons stay pretty much the same. We would also like to mention these sources that did not place in top 5 but are in top 10: intentional arson, barbeques and grills, flammable liquids, lighting.