Report: Vacant Residential Building Fires Account for 7% of Residential Blazes

WASHINGTON—The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) has issued a special report examining the characteristics of fires in vacant residential buildings.

Developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center, the report, titled, “Vacant Residential Building Fires”, is based on 2006 to 2008 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

An estimated 28,000 vacant residential building fires occur annually in the U.S., resulting in an estimated average of 45 deaths, 225 injuries and $900 million in property loss, according to the report. Vacant residential fires are considered part of the residential fire problem as they comprise approximately 7 percent of residential building fires.

In addition, most vacant residential building fires are intentionally set and are more rampant in July (9 percent), due to an increase in deliberate fires on July 4 and 5. Moreover, almost all vacant residential building fires are non-confined and half spread to involve the entire building, according to the study.

The topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in the NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information.

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