Causes of Fires in U.S.



Fire at Nonresidential

Cooking 29.1%
Unintentional, careless 10.0%
Heating 9.0%
Intentional 8.9%
Electrical malfunction 8.1%
Open flame 6.1%
Other heat 5.1%
Appliances 4.9%
Other equipment 4.7%
Exposure 4.4%
Natural 3.4%
Equipment malfunction 2.5%
Smoking 2.1%
Cause under investigation 1.6%
Playing with heat source 0.4%

Total does not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

Fire estimate summaries of nonresidential buildings, fire trends and causes (2005-2014)


Property types

“Residential” is the leading property type for fire deaths (76.5%), fire injuries (78.0%) and fire dollar loss (55.0%).

Fire Estimate Summaries present basic data
on the size and status of the fire problem in the
United States as depicted through data reported
to the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National
Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). Each
Fire Estimate Summary addresses the size of the
specific fire or fire-related issue and highlights
important trends in the data. Note: Fire Estimate
Summaries are based on the USFA’s “National
Estimates Methodology for Building Fires and
Losses” (
pdf). The USFA is committed to providing the best
and most currently available information on the U.S.
fire problem and, as a result, continually examines its
data and methodology. Because of this commitment,
changes to data collection strategies and estimate
methodologies occur, causing estimates to change
slightly over time. Previous estimates on specific
issues (or similar issues) may have been a result of
different methodologies or data definitions used and
may not be directly comparable to current estimates

Fires at home:

Cooking 50.0%
Heating 12.5%
Electrical malfunction 6.3%
Unintentional, careless 5.8%
Open flame 4.4%
Appliances 4.2%
Intentional 4.2%
Other heat 3.2%
Exposure 2.0%
Smoking 2.0%
Natural 1.6%
Cause under investigation 1.2%
Other equipment 1.2%
Equipment malfunction 0.9%
Playing with heat source 0.4%

Total does not equal 100 percent due to rounding.


Fires by general property type (2013)


31.7% Residential

8.6% Nonresidential

14.5% Vehicle

39.3% Outside

5.9% Other