Source: National Fire Protection Assoc.

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 358,500 home structural fires per year during 2011–2015.

These fires caused an annual average of

  • 2,510 civilian fire deaths
  • 12,300 civilian fire injuries
  • $6.7 billion in direct damage

Home fires caused 93% of all structure fire deaths and 80% of all fire deaths. On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day.

What Causes Home Fires?

Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries and was the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

Smoking materials were the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths over this period.

Heating equipment was the second most common cause of home fires and home fire injuries and was the third leading cause of home fire deaths.


Almost all homes have at least one smoke alarm, but almost three out of five home fire deaths in 2011–2015 resulted from fires in homes where either no smoke alarm was present (39%), or at least one alarm was present but none operated (18%).

Homes include one- or two-family homes, manufactured homes, as well as apartments or other multifamily housing. In general, any fire that
occurs in or on a structure is considered a structure fire, even if the fire was limited to contents and the building itself was not damaged.

Estimates were derived from USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey.

Where do home fires start?

  • More than two of every five (43%) reported home structure fires started in the kitchen. Two out of five (39%) home fire injuries were caused by these incidents. In addition, 17% of home fire deaths resulted from kitchen fires.
  • Just 4% of home fires started in the living room, family room, or den, but these incidents caused one-quarter (24%) of home fire deaths and 10% of home fire injuries.
  • Only 7% of reported home fires started in the bedroom, but these fires caused almost one-quarter (23%) of home fire deaths and one in five (20%) of home fire injuries.
  • Fires confined to chimneys or flues accounted for 5% of all reported home fires. These fires caused very few casualties.



When Do Home Fires Occur?

Home fires and home fire deaths peaked in the cooler months. Patterns for time of day were different for fires than for deaths.

  • Home structure fires peaked around the dinner hours between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Only one in five (20%) of reported home structure fires occurred between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. These fires caused half (52%) of all home fire deaths.