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Topical Fire Report Series December 2018 | Volume 19, Issue 9

Cooking Fires in Residential Buildings (2014-2016)

Cooking is, by far, the leading cause of home fires and injuries. This report addresses the characteristics of residential building cooking fires from 2014 to 2016.

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At a Glance

Each year, from 2014 to 2016, fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated average of
cooking fires in residential buildings.

These fires caused an estimated:

195 deaths

3,800 injuries

$463 million in property loss

Cooking was, by far, the leading cause of all residential building fires and injuries.

Confined fires, generally smaller fires, accounted for 91 percent of residential building cooking fires.

In 83 percent of nonconfined cooking fires in residential buildings, the fires were limited to the object or room of fire origin.

The leading specific factor contributing to ignition in nonconfined cooking fires in residential buildings was unattended equipment (40 percent).

Smoke alarms and automatic extinguishing systems (AESs), 67 and 8 percent respectively, were present in nonconfined cooking fires in occupied residential buildings.

These topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information.