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Nonresidential Building Fire Dollar-Loss Causes (2011‑2020)

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National estimates

The 2020 national estimates for the leading causes of nonresidential building fire dollar loss show that there was:

  • $539,200,000 loss from other unintentional, careless fires.
  • $536,300,000 loss from intentional fires.
  • $425,900,000 loss from electrical malfunction fires

Overall trends

Overall trends in the leading causes of fire dollar loss for the 10-year period of 2011 to 2020 show the following:

  • Other unintentional, careless fires as the leading cause of nonresidential building fire dollar loss in 9 years out of the 10-year period.
  • A 27% increase in nonresidential other unintentionally or carelessly set fire dollar loss.
  • A 54% increase in nonresidential intentional fire dollar loss.
    A $26,465,000 San Francisco, California, building supply warehouse fire with several exposures and a $17,000,000 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, fire reported in a mercantile or business property contributed to the increase in fire dollar loss in 2020.
  • A 20% increase in nonresidential electrical malfunction fire dollar loss.
    The overall constant dollar-loss trend takes inflation into account by adjusting each year's dollar loss to its equivalent 2020 value.

Leading causes of nonresidential building fire dollar-loss (2011-2020)

(in $millions)
Other unintentional, careless319.3375.0626.2422.1579.8581.9495.7521.5438.3539.2
Cause under investigation159.9157.0153.9222.8185.0319.0208.4117.2239.1165.4
Electrical malfunction348.1354.7414.6322.3425.5317.9455.8384.9415.7425.9
Other equipment556.2320.5170.5151.1253.3242.9240.8361.3279.6220.2
Equipment malfunction201.3306.2227.1215.9219.0167.5245.1244.9260.6258.2