The 2021 national estimates for the leading causes of residential building fire dollar loss show that there was:
- $1,943,300,000 loss from other unintentional, careless fires.
- $1,201,500,000 loss from electrical malfunction fires.
- $701,800,000 loss from open-flame fires.
Overall trends in the leading fire dollar loss* causes for the 10-year period of 2012 to 2021 show the following:
- Other unintentional, careless was the leading cause of residential fire dollar loss for the 10-year period.
- A 58% increase in residential other unintentionally or carelessly set fire dollar loss.
In 2018, there were 33 incidents with a reported dollar loss of $1,000,000 or more, 30 in 2019, 24 in 2020 and 42 in 2021. These incidents may have contributed to the continued increase in fire dollar loss. The 2021 high-dollar loss fires included a $20,000,000 large residential fire in Palo Alto, California.
- A 27% increase in residential electrical malfunction fire dollar loss.
In 2018 there were 32 incidents with a reported dollar loss of $1,000,000 or more, 14 in 2019, 13 in 2020 and 23 in 2021.These incidents may have contributed to the continued increase in fire dollar loss. The 2019 high-dollar-loss fires included a $26,400,000 hotel fire in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- A 5% increase in residential open-flame fire dollar loss.
- An $80,000,000 under-construction apartment and hotel complex fire in St. Paul, Minnesota, contributed to the peak in the 2020 residential intentionally set fire dollar loss.
- The spike in the 2016 residential exposure fire dollar loss is attributed in part to the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, wildfires.
Leading causes of residential building fire dollar loss (2012-2021)
|Other unintentional, careless||1321.0||1210.8||1256.9||1421.7||1324.3||1527.4||1705.5||1665.0||1754.5||1943.3|
|Cause under investigation||430.4||508.5||411.9||448.8||499.6||507.0||518.1||476.6||447.9||531.0|