Board and care facilities


November 27, 2006:  A fire at a facility for the elderly and mentally ill in Anderson, MS, killed 10 residents.

January 20, 2004:  A fire at a facility for the elderly and disabled in Maryville, TN, killed five residents

NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®, defines a residential board and care facility as "a building or portion thereof that is used for lodging and boarding four or more residents not related by blood or marriage to the owners or operators for the purpose of providing personal care services." NFPA 101 classifies residential board and care facilities as either small (not more than 16 residents) or large (more than 16 residents). 

Facts & figures

  • NFPA estimates that an average of 1,920 structure fires in residential board and care facilities per year were reported to U.S. fire departments during 2006-2010. These fires caused an estimated average of 10 civilian deaths, 61 civilian injuries and $8 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Three-quarters (75%) of fires in these properties were coded as cooking fires confined to the object of origin, and overall, 89% of fires in these properties didn't spread beyond the object of origin.
  • Fires in residential board and care facilities are more common during the afternoon and early evening.

Source: Structure Fires in Residential Board and Care Facilities, Ben Evarts, May 2012.

Fire investigations
NFPA members can download more than a dozen free NFPA investigation reports on board and care facilty fires.

Updated: 5/12

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