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For each year from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 2,400 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day and caused an estimated 5 deaths, 25 injuries and $19 million in property loss.1
In most cases, patterns of fires on Thanksgiving Day differ substantially from the national fire profile. To prevent fires and associated loss on this particular holiday, it is important to be aware of how fires differ from the overall fire profile in the United States.
The average number of reported residential building fires on Thanksgiving Day was more than double (2.3 times more) the average number of fires in residential buildings on all days. The average losses for Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings, however, were less than the same measures for non-Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. 2
|Loss measure||Thanksgiving Day fires||Non-Thanksgiving Day fires|
The majority of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings took place in 1- and 2-family dwellings (63 percent) followed by multifamily dwellings (32 percent). Source: NFIRS 5.0.
This is comparable to non-Thanksgiving Day residential building fires, with 1- and 2-family dwellings at 64 percent, multifamily dwellings at 29 percent, and other dwellings at 7 percent.
Almost half (48 percent) of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occurred from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when many people were most likely preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Fires then declined throughout the evening. This stands in contrast to the rest of the year, when residential building fires peaked during “normal” dinner time hours of 5-8 p.m. Source: NFIRS 5.0.
Note: Total does not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.
In 77 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings, the fire was limited to the object of origin. An additional 11 percent of these fires were limited to the room of origin. The remaining 12 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings extended beyond the room of origin. Source: NFIRS 5.0.
77.2% Limited to object of origin
10.8% Limited to room of origin
8.1% Limited to building of origin
2.8% Limited to floor of origin
1.1% Beyond building of origin
Annually among all other residential building fires, 55 percent were limited to the object of origin, an additional 20 percent were limited to the room of origin, and the remaining 25 percent extended beyond the room of origin.
Cooking fires in residential buildings occurred more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Cooking was, by far, the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 77 percent. Source: NFIRS 5.0.
Note: Percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings with sufficient data to determine cause.
By comparison, cooking was the cause of 50 percent of residential building fires that occurred on all days of the year other than Thanksgiving. Heating, at 7 percent, was the next leading cause of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.
Sources: NFIRS and the National Fire Protection Association.
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Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Watch this six second video to see what a turkey fryer explosion looks like.