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Residential Structure Fires – Fires in Homes, Apartments, Dormitories and Other Living Spaces
While fire safety measures like smoke detectors, overhead sprinklers and fire stairwells have gone far in reducing deaths and injuries from fires in residential buildings, poor building management, non-compliance with fire codes and improper action from emergency response personnel can still place lives at risk.
Home and Dwelling Space Fires
Residential house fires account for 81% of fire-related deaths and 79% of injuries in the U.S. (Data from 2006, the latest year with available data). For a ten year period beginning in 1997, an average of over 3,000 civilians were killed and another 15,340 were injured annually as the result of residential structure fires.
Residential structures fires encompass fires that occur in places where people live such as one- and two-family dwellings (including manufactured homes), apartments, hotels, motels, college dormitories and boarding houses.
The U.S. Government’s Fire Safety website offers information on safety, smoke alarms, escape planning and what you can do after a fire, as well as statistical information on fire fatalities and injuries. They also provide information and educational resources for children.
- On average in the United States in 2006, someone died in a fire about every 162 minutes, and someone was injured every 32 minutes (Karter 2007);
- Four out of five U.S. fire deaths in 2006 occurred in homes (Karter 2007);
- In 2006, fire departments responded to 412,500 home fires in the United States, which claimed the lives of 2,620 people (not including firefighters) and injured another 12,925, not including firefighters (Karter 2007);
- Most victims of fires die from smoke inhalation and not from burns (Hall 2002);
- Fires started by lighted tobacco products, principally cigarettes, constitute the leading cause of residential fire deaths. (USFA 2006); and
- Cooking equipment, most often a range or stovetop, is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. (USFA 2007).