49 House Fire Statistics: How Common Are House Fires?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), house fires occur more often than most people think. Every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the United States.

Top House Fire Statistics

  1. There's 358,300 home-based fires every year, on average.
  2. House fires cause 2,620 civilian deaths each year, on average.
  3. In 2013, the CDC reported that ver 125,000 children were treated for burns.
  4. There were 499,000 structure fire cases in 2017.
  5. There are around 50% fewer house fires today than 40 years ago, but the average cost of damage caused has nearly doubled.
  6. In 2017, there were more than 26,000 house fires, caused by faulty wiring.
  7. Fire departments and services responded to fires every 24 seconds in 2018, in the U.S.
  8. There were more than 14,000 fire injuries as a result of 364,000 residential fires in 2016.
  9. In 2018, 82 firefighters died while on duty.
  10. Home fires account for 92% of civilian fire deaths.
  11. 7 people die in a fire each day, on average.
  12. One civilian fire-related death happens every 144 minutes.
  13. Most home fire deaths are caused by someone inhaling smoke.
  14. Every year, 500 children who are 14 and younger die from a fire.
cause of house fires

House Fire Statistics: How Common Are House Fires?

1. Every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the United States.

house fire statistics

2. In 2018, there were an estimated 1,319,500 reported fires in the U.S., or one every 22 seconds.

3. Of these reported fires, 490,000 involved structures such as households and apartments.  

4. Home fires caused an estimated 2,790 civilian deaths with 15,200 civilian injuries in 2018 alone.

5. Property damage due to home fires was estimated at $10 billion for the same year (2018).

6. On average, seven people die from home fires per day in the United States each year — three of them children.

7. Fires in single family homes accounted for 70% of all home fires in 2018.

fires in single family homes

8. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, accounting for 43% of injuries related to house fires.

9. Smoking materials account for 8% of all reported home structure fires and 5% of associated civilian deaths and injuries – making it the third-leading cause of fatal home structure fires after heating equipment and arson.

10. Electrical malfunction or failure is another common cause of house fires, responsible for 13% of reported non-confined structure fires in 2018 alone.

11. Heating equipment was the second leading cause of house fire fatalities with an estimated 630 people dying from this type of fire in 2018.

12. In the same year, portable and stationary space heaters caused an estimated 14% of all home fire fatalities or 85 civilian deaths due to house fires.

13. Clothes dryers were responsible for an estimated 15,970 structure fires in 2018 – some of which resulted in death and property damage.

14. One out of every three home fire deaths is caused by a smoke alarm that did not work or had no batteries installed at the time of the fire incident.

15. An estimated 3,000 people are injured each year from attempting to fight fires on their own instead of leaving it to trained professionals.

16. Three-quarters (76%) of all fatal residential structure fires occurred in homes with no working smoke alarms installed.

17. Close to one-third (30%) of residential structure fires are caused by carelessness or negligence, such as leaving a stove on unattended for too long.

18. An estimated 663 people died from house fires caused by arson between 2017 and 2018.

19. Fires originating in the kitchen accounted for an estimated 327 civilian deaths between 2017 and 2018.

20. Candles were responsible for more than 10% of reported house fire deaths over that same period, with an average of 50 people dying every year from candle fires.

21. In 2019, there were an estimated 1,345,500 reported fires in the US – 109,000 more than the year prior.

22. Of these reported fires, 15,600 were classified as “overall intentional” or arson-related incidents.

23. Electrical malfunctions and failure remain a leading cause of house fires in 2019 – accounting for 17% of structure fires reported that same year.

24. Heating equipment was again the second leading cause of house fire fatalities with an estimated 500 people dying from this type of fire in 2019.

25. Wildfires caused by deforestation, climate change, and careless behavior remain one of the leading causes of home destruction in areas near forests and other combustible landscapes across the United States each year.

26. Careless smoking remains another major source for residential structure fires and related deaths.

How Many House Fires Are There Per Year?

In 2020, around 356,500 house fires occurred. Sadly, 2,580 civilians passed away from house fires in 2020. And there were 86,000 apartment fires in 2020, 11,000 more than in 2019.

How Common Are House Fires?

It’s important to note how common house fires can be because they are the third leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide. Further stats from NFPA reveal how certain types of house fires are particularly concerning:

  1. Cooking is involved in 43 percent of all reported house fires
  2. Electrical malfunctions or failures were the leading cause of house fires in 2018, responsible for 20 percent of all reported incidents
  3. Heating equipment was involved in 18 percent of structure fires
  4. Smoking materials caused 7.4 percent of these blazes
  5. Candles were to blame for more than 5 percent of house fires

Taking steps like replacing old electrical wiring, installing smoke detectors, and making sure not to leave open flames unattended can help minimize the risk of a house fire. It’s also important for homeowners to stay educated on how common certain causes are and how to prevent them from occurring in order to keep their homes safe and secure.

Economic Impact of House Fires

  1. House fires cause nearly $12 billion in damage each year.
  2. A building fire in a commercial kitchen can cost $23,000 in damages.
  3. House fires cost Americans $6.5 billion each year between 2013 to 2017.
  4. $11.1 billion is lost to property damage caused by house fires each year.
  5. Christmas tree fires cause around $17.5 million in damages each year.

What Causes A House Fire?

Cause Average number of house fires Average direct property losses
Cooking 169,400 $1.2 billion
Heating equipment 45,800 $1 billion
Electrical fires 32,000 $1.3 billion
Intentional 28,400 $554 million
Smoking materials 16,300 $511 million

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, national Fire Protection Association, FEMA, and, the top causes of house fires are:

  1. Cooking (50% of all fires)
  2. Heating equipment (12.5%)
  3. Electrical malfunction (6.3%)
  4. A house fire happens every 87 seconds
  5. Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires
  6. 30% of fires start in homes
  7. More than 18,000 fires are started due to fireworks each year
  8. Heat from a house fire can reach over 1100 degrees Fehrenheit in less than five minutes

Most commonly, a house fire is caused by negligence or an accident. Electrical malfunctions and unattended candles are two of the leading causes, but faulty heating equipment and cooking accidents can also lead to devastating outcomes. If not properly maintained, any one of these can cause a spark that turns into a flame in minutes.  

To prevent house fires, it’s important to be aware of how common they are and how quickly they can occur. By taking the necessary steps such as installing smoke detectors, keeping an eye on candle flames, and replacing old wiring, homeowners can significantly reduce the likelihood of a fire in their home.  With knowledge comes power – so stay informed when it comes to house fire statistics!

Preventing A House Fire

Being aware of how common house fires are should encourage homeowners to take actionable steps to mitigate their risk. Here are some basic tips anyone can follow:

1. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your house, especially near bedrooms and on each level of the home. Make sure to test them regularly and replace the batteries as needed.

2. Never leave candles unattended or place too close to flammable materials like drapes, bedding, paper products, etc.

3. Keep a fire extinguisher in an easy-to-reach area and check it every six months for expiration date as well as malfunctioning parts.

4. Keep combustible materials away from any hot surfaces, such as space heaters or stoves. Be aware that some items, such as aerosol cans should never be heated up at all – even if it seems to be safe.

5. Have your home’s electrical system inspected periodically by a professional and make sure outlets are covered with safety covers if there are small children in the house. Don’t overload outlets, cords or appliances.

6. Put out any smoking materials completely before discarding them, always double check that they are extinguished.

7. Store flammable liquids away from heat sources or potential ignition points; such as pilot lights on furnaces or water heaters – and only use approved containers for storage of these liquids.

8. Clean dryer vents regularly to remove lint build up which can increase the risk of fire due to overheated machines or dryer fires.

9. Don’t leave cooking unattended on the stove, be sure to turn off burners when not in use and keep pot holders and other flammable objects away from hot surfaces.

10. Have a fire escape plan for your family in case of an emergency so you can exit the house quickly and safely.

Following these simple tips will help ensure that your home is safe from potential fires and that you and your family are prepared should one occur. It's important to take all necessary precautions to protect your home and loved ones!

Home Insurance Premiums By Company After Fire Claim

Insurance Company Rate After Fire Claim
Allstate $1,968
American Family $1,716
Farmers $2,108
Liberty Mutual $1,699
Nationwide $1,745
State Farm $1,313
Travelers $1,873
>USAA $1,610


What percentage of fire deaths occur at home?

According to the NFPA, 79% of fire deaths and 73% of all reported fire injuries were caused by home fires.

What percentage of fire deaths occur at home?

How common are house fires?

A home fire occurs every 87 seconds.

How common are house fires?

How many house fires occur every year in the United States?

Around 358,500 house fires occur each year in the United States.

How many house fires occur every year in the United States?

How many house fires are caused by fireplaces?

21,510 of all house fires are caused by chimney fires.

How many house fires are caused by fireplaces?

Does homeowners insurance cover house fires?

Yes, homeowners insurance covers almost every cause of house fires, including:

  1. Wildfires
  2. Kitchen fires

Homeowners insurance can pay to rebuild your home and replace any damaged belongings if your house was damaged or destroyed by a fire. Your insurance policy can also pay for temporary lodging, restaurant meals, and other living expenses you'll have while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.


Overall, house fires remain a serious problem in the United States, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars in property damage every year.

It is important to take proper safety precautions such as properly installing smoke alarms, using fire extinguishers and carefully handling heat-producing equipment to reduce the number of house fires each year.

Additionally, all households should have an escape plan in case of a house fire to ensure all family members are able to safely evacuate. The statistics above make it clear how dangerous and costly house fires can be, so everyone needs to do their part in preventing them.



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