USFA Releases Smoking-Related Fires in Residential Buildings Report

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USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853

EMMITSBURG, MD – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report today examining the characteristics of smoking-related fires in residential buildings. The report, Smoking-Related Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) (PDF, 330 Kb), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center. The report is part of the Topical Fire Report Series and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report, an estimated 7,600 smoking-related fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of 365 deaths, 925 injuries, and $326 million in property loss. While smoking-related fires account for only 2 percent of all residential building fires, they are a leading cause of fire deaths, accounting for 14 percent of fire deaths in residential buildings. In addition, cigarettes are, by far, the leading type of smoking material involved in residential smoking fires and account for 86 percent of these fires. Finally, residential building smoking-related fires occur most often in the afternoon and evening hours, peaking from 2 to 3 p.m. Forty-two percent of smoking-related fires in residential buildings occur from noon to 8 p.m., however, the smoking-related fires that occur in the late evening and early morning tend to be the most deadly.

Topical reports are designed to explore the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. The reports briefly address the nature of the specific fire-related topic, highlight important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information.

For information regarding other topical reports or any programs and training available at USFA, visit