According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), across the nation, fire departments responded to nearly 350,000 home fires on average each year from 2015 to 2019. The devastating results for each of those years include an average of 2,620 civilian deaths, 11,070 injuries, and over $7 billion in property damage. 

Fire prevention saves lives and valuable possessions. Knowing the major causes of home blazes will help keep your family and home safe. Although home fires have many causes, the following were the five leading reasons fires started in the U.S. from 2015 to 2019.

1. Kitchen Fires

The oven and the stove, although essential for living, can lead to the complete destruction of a home. In reality, human negligence or recklessness is the cause of these fires. 

Acts that tend to lead to fires in kitchens include:

  • Forgetting about food that is cooking
  • Using an unsafe or malfunctioning oven or stove
  • Improper handling of oil, grease, or lard
  • Failing to keep the range free of food and grease buildup

The NFPA reports that 49% of home fires from 2015 to 2019 were caused by cooking, producing 20% of the fatalities for that period. Cooking is the leading cause of home blazes. 

2. Portable Heaters

Also known as space heaters, portable heaters accounted for 18% of home structure fires during the same time period. Most of these types of fires begin due to flammable objects being placed in front of the heater or the heater being too close to an object that may catch fire. People also forget about their space heaters, which causes fires. 

According to the US Fire Administration, people sleeping while their portable heater runs unchecked causes a significant number of blazes each year. And 41% of fatal heating fires occur in residential buildings. Unfortunately, the collateral damage of fires in apartments and residential settings can be devastating.

3. Electrical Fires

Electrical fires occur due to overloaded outlets, improper use of power bars and cords, and malfunctioning appliances and electronics. 

Portable heaters, portable AC units, and other high-power-draw appliances are frequently the culprit, especially when they are plugged into extension cords or power strips that are not rated for the loads they produce. 

4. Intentional Fires

Oddly, 15% of home fires are set intentionally, often out of spite. Such was the case of a Houston woman who set her apartment unit on fire because she was being evicted. 

Another common reason people burn down homes is for insurance purposes or other sinister reasons. Individuals who commit these acts are subject to severe criminal penalties and civil lawsuits.

5. Smoking

Despite the declining smoking rates in this country, a large percentage of the U.S. still smokes. Although smoking tobacco, cannabis, or other substances does not lead to nearly as many home fires as other causes, the fires caused by smoking are responsible for many fatalities each year.

According to the NFPA, smoking fires caused 28% of civilian deaths during the five-year time period. Falling asleep while smoking and leaving lit cigarettes near flammable items are two main causes of these types of fires. 

House Fires Are Preventable With Increased Precautions and Awareness 

As you can see, human negligence and willfulness are the culprits behind the five main causes of home fires, which means they are preventable. Knowing how fires start increases your awareness of fire safety in the home.

As you might have guessed, home fires invariably lead to legal paperwork and potentially to hearings and even trials. 

If you have experienced a home fire and were injured or lost significant property, a premises liability attorney would be valuable in helping you explore your legal options for putting your life back together.

Contact the Houston Premises Liability Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help

For more information, contact the Houston premises liability law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000

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