NFIRSGram: Documenting confined structure fires

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This NFIRSGram explains how to document confined structure fires using the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). It also addresses how to edit an NFIRS report if a person initially injured in a confined fire later succumbed to his or her injuries as a result of the fire.

What is a confined structure fire?

“Confined fires” are fires contained to certain types of equipment or objects within a structure. In NFIRS, a confined structure fire is defined by Incident Type codes 113 to 118 as shown in the table below. Confined structure fires are typically small fire incidents that are limited in extent, staying within pots, fireplaces or certain other noncombustible containers.

Confined structure fires rarely result in serious injury or large content loss and are expected to have no significant accompanying property loss due to flame damage. Content loss includes losses to the contents of a structure due to damage by fire, smoke, water and overhaul. Property loss includes losses to the structure itself or to the property itself.

For confined fires, the expectation is that the fire did not spread beyond the container (or rubbish for Incident Type 118); therefore, there was no property damage (damage to the structure itself) from the flames. However, there could be property damage as a result of smoke, water and overhaul.

Incident typeDescription
113Cooking fire involving the contents of a cooking vessel (e.g., pots and pans) without fire extension beyond the vessel.
114Chimney or flue fire originating in and confined to a chimney or flue. Excludes fires that extend beyond the chimney.
115Incinerator overload or malfunction, but flames cause no damage outside the incinerator.
116Fuel burner/boiler, delayed ignition or malfunction, where flames cause no damage outside the fire box.
117Commercial compactor fire, confined to contents of compactor. Excluded are home trash compactors.
118Trash or rubbish fire in a structure, with no flame damage to the structure or its contents.

It is also important to note that a fire contained to an item, such as a sofa or bed, is not defined as an NFIRS “confined fire” because of the greater potential for spread. Unlike fires in pots or chimneys, there is no noncombustible container to stop the fire, even though the fire did not spread beyond the object of origin.

Additionally, fires that take place in combustible cooking equipment products, such as coffee pots, toasters, toaster ovens, or microwave ovens, should not be reported as confined fires. These fires require the completion of the Fire Module so that the equipment involved in ignition can be recorded for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to then track the products involved in ignition.

What criteria are used to classify a confined structure fire in NFIRS?

The rule of thumb to follow when completing an NFIRS incident report, when it is believed the structure fire may be confined, is:
If the incident fits the description of one of the structure fire incident type codes between 113 and 118 (inclusive), and the property loss is less than or equal to $5,000, and no civilian deaths and/or no firefighter deaths occurred as a result of the fire, then the fire can be reported as “confined.”

How do I report a confined structure fire in NFIRS?

If the confined structure fire results inThen use these modules
No deaths and no large property losses.

Basic Module (required).

Optional: Fire Module, Structure Fire Module.

A civilian or firefighter injury.

Basic Module (required).

Civilian Fire Casualty Module and/or Fire Service Casualty Module for each injury (required).

Optional: Fire Module, Structure Fire Module.

Property loss exceeding $5,000 or civilian or firefighter deaths.

Basic Module (required). Code the fire as Incident Type 111, 112, or 120 to 123. Do not code it as a “confined structure fire.”

Fire Module and Structure Fire Module (required).

The Civilian Fire Casualty Module and/or Fire Service Casualty Module for each death reported on the Basic Module (required).

The death of any civilians or firefighters previously reported as injured in the fire.

Basic Module (required):

  • Update the numbers of deaths and injuries.
  • Recode the fire as Incident Type 111, 112, or 120 to 123. Do not code it as a “confined structure fire.”

Fire Module and Structure Fire Module (required for Incident Types 111, 112, or 120 to 123).

The Civilian Fire Casualty and/or Fire Service Casualty Module to reflect the change from an injury to a death (required).

Need more help documenting confined structure fires? Please contact the NFIRS Support Center: Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET, at 888-382-3827 or by email at fema-nfirshelp@fema.dhs.gov.