Arson and intentional fires

In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 260,600 fires that were started intentionally. These fires caused 390 deaths, 1,340 injuries and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. Most of these fires occur outside, but most of the associated deaths, injuries, and losses occur in structures, particularly in homes.

Source: NFPA's Latest Estimates of Intentional Fires - 2010 (PDF, 63 KB)

Facts and figures
Based on 2005-2009 annual averages:

  • Although three of every four intentional fires are started outside most of the intentional fire casualties and property loss resulted from structure fires.
  • Intentionally set home structure fires are more likely to be set in the afternoon and evening hours, between 3 pm and midnight.
  • The bedroom is the leading area of origin for intentional home structure fires, while bathrooms are the leading areas in public properties such as stores, offices or schools.

Source: NFPA's "Intentional Fires" report

Free presentation
As a part of its 2008 Urban Fire Safety Project, NFPA worked with the Columbus (OH) Division of Fire to produce the “Preventing Arson Together (8.2. MB) PowerPoint presentation. Although there are many approaches to solve the arson problem, this program focuses on actions people in neighborhoods can to do to help prevent a variety of types of arson. This presentation is designed for fire and life safety educators to present. View the presentation in the “Notes Pages” mode to see both the slide and the script to use. Feel free to add local statistics and photos to the presentation; the photos and graphics in the presentation are copyrighted materials to be used only in the “Prevention Arson Together” presentation.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
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Telephone: +1 617 770-3000 Fax: +1 617 770-0700