Statistical Reports: Residential Structure Fires

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The National Fire Data Center's Topical Fire Report Series explores facets of the U.S. fire problem that affect Americans in their daily lives. Primarily based on data collected through USFA's National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), each issue briefly addresses the nature and relevance of the specific fire or fire-related problem, highlights important findings, and suggests other resources to consider for further information. Each topical report also includes recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report.

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Residential Building Garage Fires (2009-2011)

An estimated 6,600 residential building garage fires were reported to United States fire departments each year and caused an estimated 30 deaths, 400 injuries and $457 million in property loss.

Findings from this report:

  • Residential building garage fires are considered part of the residential fire problem and comprised about 2 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Fires originating in residential building garages tend to be larger and spread farther than fires that start in other areas of a residence.
  • Of residential building garage fires, 93 percent occurred in one- and two-family residential buildings.
  • The leading causes of residential building garage fires were “electrical malfunction” (16 percent); “other unintentional, careless” action (15 percent); and “open flame” (11 percent).
  • Residential building garage fires occurred most often in the colder months of January and December (at 10 percent each). Additionally, residential building garage fires also peaked in July at 10 percent.
  • Electrical arcing was the most common heat source in residential building garage fires (17 percent).

Download: Residential Building Garage Fires (2009-2011) (PDF, 824 Kb)

Coffee Break Training: Residential Garage Fires and Built-in Protection

Fire services personnel respond every day to hundreds of fires involving residential occupancies, and most of these residences have either an attached or unattached garage. This training focuses on attached garages because of their imminent threat to the life safety of inhabitants, particularly when fire originates in this area.

Download: Residential Garage Fires and Built-in Protection (PDF, 497 Kb)

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See Also: Structure Fires | Structure Fires - Nonresidential

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