New USFA Reports Focus on Residential Building Heating Fires


The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has released two special reports regarding heating fires and portable heater fires in residential buildings.

An estimated average of 54,500 heating fires in residential buildings occurs annually in the United States. Each year the fires are responsible for an estimated 190 civilian fire deaths, 625 civilian fire injuries and $286 million in property loss, according to USFA.

Heating is the second leading cause of all residential building fires, following cooking, and is most prevalent during the winter when the use of central heating systems, portable heaters, and fireplaces is most common. Portable heaters account for an estimated average of 3,800 fires in residential buildings and result in 115 deaths, 250 injuries, and $98 million in property damage each year. About 50 percent of portable heater fires occur because the heat source is too close to combustibles.

The reports, Heating Fires in Residential Buildings and Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings, were developed by the USFA’s National Fire Data Center as part of its Topical Fire Report Series and are based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for 2005 to 2007.

The reports examine the causes and characteristics of all heating fires and portable heater fires that occur in residential buildings. Copies of the topical reports can be downloaded here.

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