Skip to main content

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock () or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Topical Fire Report Series August 2021 | Volume 21, Issue 7

Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2017‑2019)

The residential building portion of the fire problem is of great national importance, as it accounts for the vast majority of civilian casualties. This report describes the characteristics of multifamily residential building fires reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System for 2017‑2019.

Download the full 14-page report

At a Glance

Each year, from 2017 to 2019, an estimated average of
multifamily residential building fires
were reported to fire departments in the United States.

These fires caused an estimated:

400 deaths
3,875 injuries


$1.7 billion

in property loss


Multifamily residential building fires accounted for 29% of all residential building fires.


Small, confined fires accounted for 71% of multifamily residential building fires.

January calendar

Multifamily residential building fire incidence was slightly higher in the cooler months, peaking in January at 10%.

cooking pan

Cooking, at 74%, was the leading cause of multifamily residential building fires — 95% were small, confined fires with limited damage.

stove fire

Cooking areas and kitchens (33%) were the primary areas of origin for nonconfined multifamily residential building fires.

smoke alarm

Smoke alarms were present in 64% of nonconfined multifamily residential building fires.