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Residential Building Fire Causes (2012‑2021)

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National estimates

The 2021 national estimates for the leading causes of residential building fires show that there were:

  • 170,000 cooking fires.
  • 32,200 heating fires.
  • 29,800 other unintentional, careless fires.
  • 24,200 electrical malfunction fires.

Overall trends

Overall trends in the leading fire causes for the 10-year period of 2012 to 2021 show the following:

  • Cooking as the leading cause of residential building fires for the 10-year period.
  • A 4% decrease in residential cooking fires.
  • A 37% decrease in residential heating fires.
  • A 44% increase in residential other unintentionally or carelessly set fires.
  • An 11% increase in residential electrical malfunction fires.

Leading causes of residential building fires (2012-2021)

Other Unintentional, Careless21100210002200024500242002640028600272002780029800
Electrical Malfunction20200231002390024500235002410025700242002340024200