There has been a steady decline in the average number of gasoline fires in homes each year since 1980 when there were 15,000 fires.

  • In 2003-2006, municipal fire departments responded to an estimated 2,400 gasoline structure fires in U.S. homes, annually. These fire resulted in 110 civilian deaths, 313 civilian injuries and $105.9 million in direct property damage.
  • 49% of home gasoline structure fires each year between 2003 and 2006 were categorized as intentional. Almost three-quarters of civilian injuries resulted from unintentional causes. Fuel spills or releases; using gasoline to kindle fire, and gasoline too close to a heat source; were the leading factors contributing to ignition in home gasoline structure fires.
  • Spark ember or flame from operating equipment was the most common ignition source in home gasoline structure fires, followed by matches and lighters.

Source: NFPA's Fire Analysis & Research Division

Safety tips

  • Keep gasoline out of children's sight and reach. Children should never handle gasoline.
  • If fire does start while handling gasoline, do not attempt to extinguish the fire or stop the flow of gasoline. Leave the area immediately, and call for help.
  • Do not use or store gasoline near possible ignition sources (i.e., electrical devices, oil- or gas-fired appliances, or any other device that contains a pilot flame or a spark).
  • Store gasoline outside the home (i.e., in a garage or lawn shed) in a tightly closed metal or plastic container approved by an independent testing laboratory or the local or state fire authorities. Never store gasoline in glass containers or non-reusable plastic containers (i.e., milk jugs).
  • Store only enough gasoline necessary to power equipment and let machinery cool before refueling it.
  • Never use gasoline inside the home or as a cleaning agent.
  • Clean up spills promptly and discard clean-up materials properly.
  • Do not smoke when handling gasoline.
  • Never use gasoline in place of kerosene.
  • Use caution when fueling automobiles. Do not get in and out of the automobile when fueling. Although rare, an electrical charge on your body could spark a fire, especially during the dry winter months.
  • Only fill portable gasoline containers outdoors. Place the container on the ground before filling and never fill containers inside a vehicle or in the bed of a pick-up truck.
  • Follow all manufacturers instructions when using electronic devices (those with batteries or connected to an electrical outlet) near gasoline.

For more information on gasoline safety, visit the American Petroleum Institute and the Petroleum Equipment Institute Web sites.