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Residential Building Fire Injury Causes (2012‑2021)

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National estimates

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

  • 3,000 cooking fire injuries.
  • 1,700 other unintentional, careless fire injuries.
  • 975 open-flame fire injuries.
  • 900 electrical malfunction fire injuries.

Overall trends

Overall trends in the leading fire injury 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 32% decrease in residential cooking fire injuries.
  • A 77% increase in residential other unintentionally or carelessly set fire injuries.
    In 2020 and 2021, 64 and 68 reported multiple injury fire incidents, respectively, may have contributed to the increase in the estimate of fire injuries. The 2020 multiple injury fire incidents included a high-rise apartment building fire in Bronx, New York, with 29 injuries.
  • A 13% decrease in residential open-flame fire injuries.
  • An 8% decrease in residential electrical malfunction fire injuries.

Leading causes of residential building fire injuries (2012-2021)

2012201320142015201620172018201920202021
Cooking4425422541253775347533003100355031753000
Other unintentional, careless1050107510751350132513001450165018001700
Open flame1100115010509759259009751000975975
Electrical malfunction9008759258508007508251050975900
Smoking800850775675750700700750725750
Intentional775725625650625700700750725700