Major 5 causes of home fires in US 2023

Leading Causes of House Fires

House fires remain a critical concerns for homeowners in terms of both deaths and injuries, as well as financial losses. The later ones keep rising every year. The very unfortunate part is that most of the causes can be avoidable. Thus we want to raise the awareness of possible dangers and highlight five major causes of house fires in US.


Cooking, our everyday activity, is the number 1 leading cause of home fires in US. How many times were you yourself distracted while preparing a 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.

Taking into account how often we cook it’s no surprise really that related fire emergencies occur all the time. For example in 2021 home structure fire was reported every 93 seconds! A home fire death occurred every three hours and eight minutes. And a home fire injury occurred every 47 minutes.

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) From 2017 to 2019 fires caused by cooking lead to $444 million loss. Among the leading factors of cooking accidents the main is Unattended equipment.

Leading factors in home cooking fires and cooking fire deaths 2014–2018

Leading factors in home cooking fires and cooking fire deaths 2014–2018


Heating accidents is the the second leading cause of residential building fires. Among different types of heating devices space heaters is the #1 type most often involved in emergencies. People often neglect basic safeguard measures like keeping heaters away from flammable objects (i.e. furniture, clothes and curtains).

It’s also worth noting that nearly 50% of home heating equipment fires are reported during the winter months.

Heating Equipment - number two cause of fire

Local fire departments responded to ~ 44,210 fires involving heating equipment per year in 2016-2020. This sums up around 13% of all reported home fires during that time period. These fires resulted in annual losses of 480 civilian deaths, 1,370 civilian injuries, and more than $1 billion in direct property damage.

Electrical Equipment failure

Electrical malfunctions are the 3rd leading cause of home fires in U.S. Moreover electrical failures account for the one of the highest shares of civilian deaths. Bedroom is the main area of origin for such accidents (17%). Followed by attic (12%), and wall assembly (9%).

Electrical equipment failure by type


Even though the number of people who smoke has been going down lately it is still one of the main sources of fires. In fact just a few years ago smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths (according to NFPA from 2012 till 2016). It’s also worth noting that fires originating in the living room caused almost half of all the deaths.

Home Fires Started By Smoking

Keep in mind these simple but very important rules if you are a smoker:

  • Smoking outside is always safer.
  • Keep cigarettes and lighters out of the children reach.
  • Do not smoke around medical oxygen. It is highly flammable and explosive.
  • Do not smoke in bed. Falling asleep with a lit cigarette is one of the main starting points of fires.
  • Use sturdy and deep ashtray when putting out your cigarette.

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. On average, 20 home candle fires are reported each day.

As the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays approach the number of fires caused by candles sky rockets. From 2015-2019 fires caused an annual average of 90 deaths and $291 million in direct property damage.

House fires started by Decorations - Candles


Knowing the caused of fires is the first step to realizing what steps must be taken to prevent such cases. We hope this article help you with that.

And of course this statistics just ads to the Reasons why it is worth getting a fire proof safe as a measure of protection from fire hazards.

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