US Fire Administration Releases Report on Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings

Portable heaters were involved in 45 percent of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings

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USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853

EMMITSBURG, Md. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announces the release of a special report examining the characteristics of portable heater fires in residential buildings. The report, Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

While portable heating fires were small in number, the consequences were substantial, accounting for nearly half of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings. Many of these fires were preventable as human error–placing the heater too close to combustible items or leaving the heater unattended–was a contributing factor to the fire. You can prevent a portable heater fire in your home this winter by following a few fire safety steps:

Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) is part of the Topical Fire Report Series. Topical reports explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. 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. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

For further information regarding other topical reports or fire prevention, visit the USFA website at

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