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Report: NFPA's "Intentional Fires"
Author: Richard Campbell

Issued: April 2014

Report highlights

  • During 2007-2011, an estimated 282,600 intentional fires were reported to U.S. fire departments each year, with associated annual losses of 420 civilian deaths, 1,360 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage. Outside or unclassified fires accounted for three-quarters (75%) of these incidents, while 18% involved structures, and 7% were vehicle fires.
  • Despite representing one-fifth (18%) of all intentional fires, structure fires accounted for 92% of civilian deaths, 84% of civilian injuries, and 86% of direct property damage caused by intentional fires. Sixty-three percent of intentional structure fires occurred in residential properties, 6% occurred in storage facilities, 4% occurred in educational properties, 4% occurred in mercantile or business properties, and 3% occurred in public assembly properties.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of intentional structure fires occurred in structures that are occupied and operating, and these fires account for most of the associated losses. Fourteen percent occurred in vacant, unsecured properties, and 8% in vacant, secured properties. The most common item first ignited in intentional structure fires was rubbish, trash or waste, but a disproportionate share of the property damage resulted from fires beginning with flammable or combustible liquids or gases, (possibly accelerants).

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