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Residential Building Fire Causes (2011‑2020)

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National estimates

The 2020 national estimates for the leading causes of residential building fires show that there were:

  • 192,600 cooking fires.
  • 33,000 heating fires.
  • 27,800 other unintentional, careless fires.
  • 23,400 electrical malfunction fires.

Overall trends

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

  • Cooking as the leading cause of residential building fires for the 10-year period.
  • A 7% increase in residential cooking fires.
    This is likely due to an NFIRS coding edit implemented in 2012.
  • A 34% decrease in residential heating fires.
  • A 30% increase in residential other unintentionally or carelessly set fires.
  • A 2% increase in residential electrical malfunction fires.

Leading causes of residential building fires (2011-2020)

Other Unintentional, Careless24900211002100022000245002420026400286002720027800
Electrical Malfunction26800202002310023900245002350024100257002420023400