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Fire Estimate Summary • April 2021

Residential Building Fire Causes (2010‑2019)

This fire estimate summary presents basic data on residential building fire causes in the United States as depicted through data reported to the U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA's) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). The summary also highlights important trends in the data.

National Estimates

The 2019 national estimates for the leading causes of residential building fires show that there were:

  1. 178,100 cooking fires.
  2. 33,100 heating fires.
  3. 27,200 other unintentional, careless fires.
  4. 24,200 electrical malfunction fires.

Overall Trends

Overall trends in the leading fire causes for the 10-year period of 2010 to 2019 show the following:

  • Cooking as the leading cause of residential building fires for the 10-year period.
  • A 10% increase in residential cooking fires. (This is likely due to an NFIRS coding edit implemented in 2012.)
  • A 32% decrease in residential heating fires.
  • A 22% increase in residential other unintentionally or carelessly set fires.
  • A 0.8% decrease in residential electrical malfunction fires.

Leading Causes of Residential Building Fires (2010‑2019)

2010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Cooking166000166600182000188000189800193400183300191800192700178100
Heating46800437004520049000476004120035100338003570033100
Other Unintentional, Careless24600249002110021000220002450024200264002860027200
Electrical Malfunction26100268002020023100239002450023500241002570024200